As the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation with strict social and physical distancing guidelines keeping people at home, more and more of us made the leap to working, shopping, banking, socializing—even visiting our doctors—online.
Unfortunately, this shift to digital has left far too many seniors behind.
Barriers to older adults connecting online include:1
- The cost of hardware (laptops, tablets, smart phones)
- Limited availability of broadband Wi-Fi service (particularly in remote/rural areas)
- A lack of understanding of how to accomplish basic online tasks
- A perceived lack of need for engaging online
To address these barriers, Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), with generous support from The Humana Foundation, launched Aging Connected. The purpose of this national campaign is to provide seniors with the training and tools they need to participate more fully in the world around them—all from the comfort and safety of their homes.
Aging Connected’s goal is to bring at least 1 million seniors online by 2022, coordinating the efforts of internet service providers, healthcare organizations, public sector officials, and nonprofits already working on aging and digital equity issues.
“By enabling more seniors to use technology and access high-speed internet, we can help seniors understand and access digital health services and telemedicine, improving the quality of healthcare they receive. Additionally, Aging Connected will help seniors combat loneliness by connecting people safely at home.” Walter D. Woods, former CEO of The Humana Foundation.
While the pandemic drove the initial establishment of Aging Connected, the adoption and use of digital tools among older adults will only become more important as seniors age. Travelling to see loved ones may become more challenging. Driving to the local grocery, bank or pharmacy may no longer be an option. And as more and more local media outlets disappear, the internet can serve as seniors’ window to the world.
Learn more about Aging Connected