AUBURN — Zooming, video chats, FaceTime and other ways to see and hear others online is a must to keep connected safely during the pandemic.

If someone’s not Zooming, Carl Bucciantini, a retired information technology specialist at the Auburn Middle School and AARP Maine volunteer, recommends they should learn how and get going.

Assuming that someone has access to a computer or smartphone, they can download the Zoom app, then simply click the link to the Zoom session they’d like to join, he said.

Star Pelsue of Portland, a senior college volunteer, said he agrees — online video conversations are critical to good mental health for most people as they navigate COVID-19.

Pelsue volunteers for the OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute with the University of Southern Maine, an enrichment program for adults 50 and older, like the Lewiston-Auburn Senior College.

Pelsue is involved in helping facilitate senior college classes on Zoom.

In some instances, she said, it can be life changing.

One man who was in his 80s was struggling to get connected to online classes.

“There were times we could hear him but he couldn’t hear us,” Pelsue said.

Pelsue kept working to help him connect. Finally everything clicked, he was in. He could hear, see and speak to others.

“When his camera went on, he started weeping,” Pelsue said. “He said, ‘I haven’t seen anybody in a month.’ Where he lived in his building he couldn’t go out of his room. After that I made it my mission to help as many people as I could.”

The Lewiston-Auburn Senior College offers online courses on Zoom. Anyone who needs help connecting should write to the L-A Senior College and let them know at [email protected]

One of the upcoming online courses at L-A Senior College is a Zoom course to learn the basics.

“Whether you are in Auburn, Arizona or Australia, you can join us on this new adventure,” the course brochure says. The course is at 10 a.m. Jan. 14.

Also, the Maine Senior College network is planning a statewide Valentine’s Day event. Anyone who is a senior college member can join.

Another venue for free online classes and help learning about technology is the Digital Equality Center at digitalequalitycenter.org. For more information call 207-259-5010, or email [email protected].

“It’s about aging well with technology,” Pelsue said.

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