Taimali Senior Learning Center in Taitung County is located next to the Presbyterian Church in the community. Every day, the elders usually gather and sit around in a small space outside the learning center, chatting and laughing. They talk about family affairs or the exciting plot of the local drama they have been binge-watching. Nevertheless, different from the community care center whose function aims for caring, the establishment of the elderly learning center serves the purpose to encourage the elderly to go out of their house and interact with the outside world. Through learning, they can explore and discover more about themselves, the focus of life, and the meaning of happiness. Embracing the “live and learn” attitude has become the life goal pursued by the elders gathered in the senior center.
Over the years, Taiwan has been developing and stepping into an aging society. Whenever a disaster occurs, the index of social vulnerability is one indicator that predicts to what level a region's ability to withstand the impact of a disaster. This index is designed and to be evaluated by three types of data: population, income, and available shelters for refugees. In the category of population, the elderly are classified as vulnerable populations, which means that these groups are at high risk when a disaster occurs. Therefore, in the event of a disaster, learning to protect oneself has become a very important subject for the elderly.
The Mustard Seed Disaster Prevention and Relief Service Center cooperates with the Taimali Senior Learning Center to arrange and promote disaster prevention education. This program is specifically targeting to teach self-protection amid natural disasters against earthquakes, fires, and floods. At the time of idea communication and the promotion, the concept to combine packaged games and technology and apply over disaster prevention is well introduced. We accompanied the elders to go through various challenges facing different unfamiliar fields, as well as 3C devices! We adopted the online game app - Kahoot to let the elders compete during the game plays. When they learned that competition was coming, the elders demonstrated a strong spirit of winning. Before the answers were announced by the host on the stage, the elders murmured their answers off the stage, hoping their answers hit the jackpot. At site, they were super excited with big smiles, as soon as they got the answers right. On the contrary, if they missed the answers, they bowed their head with regret. Some questioned and disagreed with the answers, they demand someone to explain. Such mindset and behavior are just fully demonstrating elderly people, regardless of their age, still, keep an innocent hearts like children in the event of games play.
Nevertheless, we helped elderly citizens using smartphones to join the official account of the National Center for Disaster Prevention and Rescue (NCDR) registered with LINE, the social media service provider. By doing so, they can check the disaster information around their area at any time. "It's fun! LINE will protect us.” A grandma squinted and stared at her phone and continued: "In the past, I only used LINE to video chat with children living in different places, that's all." Rather than just stay in the state of being rescued, we noticed the elders were developing the awareness to learn the importance of self-help. We realize that the path toward disaster prevention has taken a big step forward. To continue the concept of digital learning as well as incorporating technology in disaster prevention class, we taught the elderly how to use the tablet to enter the 3D disaster potential map of the National Disaster Prevention and Rescue Technology Center. As soon as they found the location on the map, they typed their own home address. The website on the screen just popped up the position showing exactly where they were at the moment. Many elders were responding with huge pleasant surprise, knowing that one can actually be rescued. Thanks to the modern technology development. They repeatedly were zooming with two fingers and following step by step to check their own disaster risks one by one. Ultimately, they understand there may be potential disasters to occur in the future, and how they can prepare for disaster prevention in advance.
Going forward, we expect, in this small space of this senior learning center, at the time elders gather for chit chat, the topics will include not only about family affairs, or the exciting plot of the local drama they are binge-watching, but also how they can be better prepared prior to the arrival of typhoons and flooding. They can remind each other about disaster prevention measures and preparations. Through this frequent reminder, they will be well prepared ahead to store excess food beforehand and know how to protect themselves when an earthquake strikes. Furthermore, this can gradually develop an awareness of disaster prevention mindset and let this mentality and attitude be constructively embedded in their daily life.