Aging Connected is a nationwide campaign to bring one million American seniors online by 2022.
Older adults are the largest group in the United States without meaningful connection to the internet — leading to lack of access to public health information, diminished social support, and high rates of social isolation.
Older Adults Technology Services from AARP (OATS) and the Humana Foundation have been working together since 2018 to help seniors improve their social connections by offering technology classes designed for older learners. Now, amidst the COVID-19 health crisis, we’re partnering to build a national movement that brings together telecommunications companies, nonprofit service providers, and public sector agencies to get more seniors online and expand access to affordable broadband internet.
By connecting with affordable, underutilized internet offerings in their area, older Americans will be able to better participate in basic life activities — from shopping and communicating with loved ones, to managing personal health and finances.
Aging Connected is bridging the connectivity gap for older adults through a four-pronged approach:
1. Publicize and clearly articulate the value of broadband to seniors.
Many seniors choose not to get online even when presented with affordable options because they do not see or understand the value or are intimidated by the perceived complexity of getting online. We’re working on marketing and publicity efforts that will help shift this mindset for a diverse array of offline seniors.
2. Prioritize social equity and inclusion.
Socio-economic and geographic disparities intersect with issues of connectivity among older adults. Parts of the country with high concentrations of poverty and underserved demographics suffer from greater connectivity, and these communities should be prioritized for action. We’re calling on policymakers to treat digital inclusion as an urgent social equity issue.
3. Expand access to low-cost offers.
There is a wide disparity in programs and coverage for affordable broadband that needs to be corrected. We’re urging telecom providers to embrace the best practices around affordability and extend low-cost programs to serve meaningful numbers of older adults, including veterans, lower-income and disabled seniors, and enrollees in major social service programs.
4. Develop content, communities, and experiences for older adults to increase utilization of broadband services.
We’re investing in and extending targeted content through Senior Planet that introduces older adults to the internet and helps them feel at home online — with a special emphasis on high value topics such as digital health, social engagement, and financial security.
Older Adults Technology Services from AARP (OATS)
Founded in 2004, OATS is an award-winning social change organization that offers technology programs, community training, and strategic engagements to shape the future of aging. OATS applies a deep understanding of both aging and technology to engineer innovative solutions for cities, foundations, and leading corporations, shifting the narratives around aging and addressing the vital needs of older adults.
Senior Planet from AARP
Senior Planet is a national program created and sponsored by OATS that helps more than 30,000 Americans aged 60 and older thrive in the digital world and harnesses technology to change the way we age. Its popular content and learning website seniorplanet.org has more than one million visitors each year. Once older adults are connected with internet, they can learn to thrive online by doings things like ordering groceries online, going to the doctor’s office virtually, using telehealth apps, and learning to use Zoom to connect with friends and family to avoid social isolation. Visit www.seniorplanet.org/aging-connected to learn more and view upcoming, introductory classes for older adults who are new to the internet.
The Humana Foundation
The Humana Foundation was established in 1981 as the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), one of the nation’s leading health and well-being companies. Located in Louisville, Ky., the Foundation seeks to co-create communities where leadership, culture, and systems work to improve and sustain positive health outcomes. For more information, visit humanafoundation.org.
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