GoldenMe Bridges The Digital Divide Between Generations

Mara Kroth Co-founder of GoldenMe (Photo © Studio Wision)

Founded in 2018, GoldenMe, a nonprofit based in Luxembourg, combats elderly loneliness through innovative digital strategies, enriching the lives of both young and old alike.

GoldenMes creation can be traced back to co-founders Mara Kroth and Johannes Heuschkel. Mara’s personal experience of losing her grandfather, sparked a desire to address the issue of loneliness and social isolation among the elderly.

“It was right after losing my grandfather that the idea was born to build a platform to connect people that are pre-retirement or entering retirement, to the digital world.”

Mara Kroth, co-founder of GoldenMe

What began as a simple idea blossomed into a full-fledged initiative, with GoldenMe’s participation in the Ideation Camp at the University of Luxembourg Incubator. “With the pandemic, we quickly realized that everything was switching online, with the participation metrics rising,” said Kroth. Recognizing the increasing reliance on digital platforms for social interaction, the organization transitioned its activities online, offering yoga courses, mindfulness sessions, and informative talks tailored to seniors.

Many seniors lack the digital skills necessary to fully participate in online activities. “The people that are really in need of help, that are really isolated, cut off from society, these are the people that don’t have the digital skills,” said Kroth. Thus began GoldenMe’s push into digital literacy training, with a particular emphasis on smartphone usage.

The smartphone cafe

“The Smartphone Cafe is for people taking the first step,” said Kroth. Central to GoldenMe’s digital inclusion efforts is the concept of the Smartphone Cafe, a platform where seniors receive personalized instruction on using smartphones and navigating the digital landscape. Utilizing volunteers, predominantly millennials and Gen Z individuals, GoldenMe empowers seniors to embrace technology with confidence.

“The Smartphone Cafe is intergenerational, we work with volunteers and young professionals, and it’s a great way for the young to give back to the old,” said Kroth. Through half-hour WhatsApp tutorials, volunteers guide seniors through the intricacies of smartphone usage, bridging the digital divide one step at a time. The impact of these sessions extends beyond mere technical proficiency; they serve as a source of empowerment and enrichment for seniors, instilling a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Workshops on AI and fake news

In its ongoing development to empower seniors and foster digital inclusion, GoldenMe has expanded to include workshops and collaborations with municipalities and cities across Luxembourg. These initiatives aim to equip seniors with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the digital landscape safely and confidently.

“We organized workshops on AI, fake news, and cybersecurity. We see that this is helpful with different age groups, as some of the elderly may not have their kids around to help,” said Kroth. Recent collaborations with organizations such as “Bee Secure” where GoldenMe hosted workshops on topics ranging from AI and cybersecurity to fake news detection.

The organization currently operates primarily through its website and social media channels. GoldenMe’s newly formed visual identity, including their logo, is an inclusion of an on and off button within a smile, with the word old, in gold, radiating their mission that “old is gold.”

“The demand is there. From the first of January 2023, we received a convention with the Ministry of Family Affairs, and we were able to grow our team”

Mara Kroth, co-founder of GoldenMe

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