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CARE HOME LEADS SILVER SURFERS REVOLUTIONCare Home Resident by computer screen

Residents of a Surrey care home are at the forefront of the 'silver surfer' revolution, using the internet and social media to stay in touch with friends and family as well as keeping their minds active.

The Royal Alfred Seafarers' Society is celebrating the first anniversary of its internet cafe this month to coincide with Spring Online (23 – 27 April) which promotes the internet as a life-changing resource for people over 50 years old.

Spring Online is Digital Unite's award-winning campaign to give older people a taste of computers and theinternet.

Residents of the nursing care home, which provides dedicated accommodation and care to former seafarers, have embraced the technology including Eric Laurie, whose daughter lives in Italy. Eric, 91, who served in the Royal Navy for 30 years uses Skype to stay in touch with his family and has recently celebrated the birth of his first great granddaughter.

Eric also reads the Italian and English newspapers online and regularly sends letters to the Telegraph newspaper via email. He has recently had a book published on the internet about battles in Venice in the 1600's and is currently writing his life story. Eric is now sharing his knowledge of the online world and teaching other residents how to use the internet including fellow former mariner Michal Hamers.

Tenants in the sheltered flats also have access to the internet and a number of them have computers in their rooms. Residents such as Ted Judd, 77, an ex Royal Marine, uses the internet to play games such as cards and Sudoku which helps to keep his mind active.

Captain Roy Davis, 81, who served in the merchant navy for 45 years, uses the internet for shopping, banking, booking holidays and searching for information.

Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt OBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Alfred Seafarers' Society, said: "The internet and social media has exploded into our lives and there are so many advantages to the various platforms and programmes. It is a great way for our residents to stay in touch with relatives and friends who may live too far away to visit. The internet certainly makes the world a smaller place, it is lovely to see residents Skyping their relatives, it makes such a difference for them to see their loved ones faces!"

The Royal Alfred Seafarers' Society is a registered charity and was established in 1865. It is incorporated under Royal Charter, with HRH the Princess Royal as its patron. It provides nursing, dementia, residential and respite care to retired seafarers and residents of non-seafaring backgrounds from across the UK. Under the Royal Charter, 'seafarers' include Merchant Navy, Royal Navy, fishermen and port workers, as well as their widows, widowers or dependants.

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