During Digital Inclusion Week, new report provides quantitative evidence that technology interventions can play an important role in driving behaviour change among older adults
New York, October 4 April 2022 /PRNewswire/ – During Digital Inclusion Week (October 4), in an effort to raise awareness of solutions to digital equity, AARP’s Technology Services for the Elderly (OATS) released a report, “Fly Like an Eagle: Using Technology to Measure Transformative Social Outcomes in Older People. “The report details how the use of technological devices and innovative training programs can lead to transformative social outcomes for older adults, and provides a blueprint for cities and communities looking to implement their own digital inclusion programs.
The report comes as nearly 22 million older Americans remain on the wrong side of the digital divide, falling behind the general population by double digits on most measures of technology utilization. Quantitative findings provide strong evidence that technological interventions can play an important role in driving behavioural change in older adults: combating social isolation, loneliness and depression – while improving quality of life.
“We’ve always believed that technical training can have life-changing benefits for older adults,” he said. Tom CampbellExecutive Director of OATS, AARP. “This report brings strong new evidence that, when combined with tablet use and the internet, technology training leads to measurable changes: more friends, less loneliness, more new things experience and less risk of depression. These are extraordinary results with a major impact on strategies to help older adults overcome digital isolation.”
Researchers find that older adults with technical training 3x more likely to connect with new contacts, nearly 4x more likely to engage in new activities, and 2x more likely to have video calls with new contacts. Seniors who receive technical training feel more connected to friends, family and congregation . 20% more than those who don’t.
“Over the years, business, health, consumer and social activities have increasingly moved online. But the pandemic has greatly accelerated that shift and has also shown us what happens when older adults are left behind. What’s happening. Closing the digital divide has been a priority for New York AARP, and this report highlights why we must provide technical training to facilitate digital engagement for older residents,” GAAP New York state Director Beth Finkel.
The Humana Foundation supports a multi-year commitment to OATS to remove structural barriers and provide older adults with the technology they need to connect with the outside world. “I’m encouraged by the results of this study, which affirms our commitment to evidence-based investments in helping older adults reach their full health potential,” said Tiffany BenjaminCEO of Humana Foundation. “The ways in which empowering older adults through digital access and expertise helps them navigate new and healthy opportunities with greater confidence.”
“Seniors are an important part of the social fabric of NYCHA campuses across the city, and it is critical to provide them with the technical resources they need to strengthen their ties to their neighbors, family members and surrounding communities,” said Interim NYCHA CEO Lisa Bois-Hiatt“We applaud AARP’s Seniors Technology Services (OATS) for bringing attention to the social and emotional benefits that increased digital equity can bring to NYCHA seniors. The organization is an important partner in addressing the digital divide that affects public housing residents.”
The findings in the report are based on Connect with NYCHA, an emergency initiative to connect seniors living in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residences with technical and training support at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This public-private partnership between OATS, T-Mobile and various New York City government agencies provides 10,000 free connected tablet devices to low-income seniors, as well as training and hotline support. T-Mobile provides seniors with free tablet devices and connectivity, while OATS offers free training through its flagship program, Senior Planet.
To learn more about the findings, read the report.
OATS about AARP
AARP’s OATS helps older adults learn to use and leverage technology to transform their lives and communities. Through its flagship program, Senior Planet, OATS works closely with seniors to create extraordinary in-person and online experiences. As one of AARP’s charitable affiliates, AARP’s OATS mission is “to harness the power of technology to transform the way we age.” To learn more, visit www.oats.org or follow @OlderAdultsTech on social media.
About the Humana Foundation
The Humana Foundation was established in 1981 as the charitable arm of Humana Inc. And focus on health equity, working to remove inequitable, avoidable, and unnecessary barriers to health and healthcare. The foundation promotes evidence-based collaboration and investment to help people in underserved communities lead connected, healthy lives. As stewards of physical health, the Foundation builds healthy emotional connections for people and communities and is shaping a healthier approach to nutrition to support lifelong happiness. For more information, visit humanafoundation.org.
The Humana Foundation, a humanitarian company, believes that everyone should have access to the tools and support they need to have the healthiest possible fair and equitable opportunity. Our commitment to improving health outcomes for all – our members and patients, employees, the communities we serve, healthcare systems and the environment – is the foundation of our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Impact Platform.
Media Contact: Susannah McBuster [email protected]
Source: AARP’s Senior Technology Services