During Digital Inclusion Week, new report offers quantitative evidence that technology interventions can play a significant role in driving behavioral change for older adults
NEW YORK, Oct. 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — During Digital Inclusion Week (Oct. 4), which aims to raise awareness of solutions addressing digital equity, Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) from AARP has released a report, “Fly Like an Eagle: Measuring Transformational Social Outcomes Among Seniors Using Technology.” The report details how access to technology devices and innovative training programs can yield transformational 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, lagging behind the general population by double digits on most measures of technology utilization. The quantitative findings present strong evidence that technology interventions can play a significant role in driving behavioral change for older adults: combating social isolation, loneliness and depression – all while improving quality of life.
“We have long believed that technology training offers life-changing benefits for older adults,” said Tom Kamber, Executive Director of OATS from AARP. “This report brings powerful new evidence to confirm that when combined with access to a tablet and the internet, technology training leads to measurable change: more friends, less loneliness, more experience of new things, and less risk of depression. These are extraordinary results with major implications for strategies to help seniors overcome digital isolation.”
Researchers found that older adults who received technology training were 3 times as likely to contact someone new, nearly 4 times as likely to participate in a new activity and 2 times as likely to participate in a video call with a new contact. Older adults who received technology training felt an increase in their feelings of connectedness to friends, family and congregation 20 percent more than those who did not.
“For years, business, health, consumer, and social activities have increasingly moved online. But the pandemic greatly accelerated the shift and also showed us what happens when older adults are left behind. Closing the digital divide has been a priority for AARP New York and this report highlights why it is imperative we provide tech training to facilitate digital participation among older residents,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel.
The Humana Foundation supported a multi-year commitment to OATS to eliminate structural barriers and offer seniors the technology access they need to connect to the world outside of themselves. “I am inspired by the results of the study which affirms our commitment to evidence-based investments that help seniors reach their full health potential,” said Tiffany Benjamin, Humana Foundation CEO. “Empowering older adults through digital access and expertise helps them navigate their approach to new people and healthy opportunities, with greater confidence.”
“Older adults are an important part of the social fabric of NYCHA campuses citywide and providing them with the technological resources needed to enhance their connections to their neighbors, family members, and surrounding community is paramount,” said Interim NYCHA CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “We applaud Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) from AARP for bringing attention to the social and emotional benefits that increased digital equity can bring to NYCHA seniors. The organization is a vital partner in addressing the digital divide affecting public housing residents.”
The findings in the report are based on Connected NYCHA, an emergency initiative that connected older adults living in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residences to technology and training support at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This public-private partnership between OATS, T-Mobile, and various NYC government agencies delivered 10,000 free, internet-connected tablet devices to low-income older adults, along with training and hotline support. T-Mobile provided the free tablet devices and connectivity to older adults, while OATS provided free training services through its flagship program, Senior Planet.
To learn more about the findings, read the report.
About OATS from AARP
OATS from AARP helps older adults learn to use and leverage technology to transform their lives and their communities. Through its flagship program, Senior Planet, OATS works closely with older adults to create extraordinary experiences in-person and online. As one of AARP’s charitable affiliates, the mission of OATS from AARP is “to harness the power of technology to change 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 philanthropic arm of Humana Inc. and is focused on health equity, working to eliminate unjust, avoidable and unnecessary barriers in health and healthcare. The Foundation fosters evidence-based collaborations and investments that help people in underserved communities live connected, healthy lives. As a steward of good health, the Foundation creates healthy emotional connections for people and communities and is shaping a healthier approach to nutrition to support lifelong well-being. For more information, visit humanafoundation.org.
Humana Inc. and The Humana Foundation believe everyone should have access to the tools and support needed to have a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Our commitment to improving health outcomes for all – our members and patients, employees, the communities we serve, the healthcare system, and the environment – is the foundation of our Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) impact platform.
Media Contact: Suzanne Myklebust [email protected]
SOURCE Older Adults Technology Services from AARP