Supporting Older Caregivers During COVID-19

The challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic presented an extraordinary challenge for older adults and their caregivers, who faced increased responsibilities and new stresses navigating the public health emergency.

In January 2021, the CDC Foundation and NORC at the University of Chicago released a study examining the physical and mental well-being of community-dwelling older adults and their informal or unpaid caregivers during public health emergencies, such as COVID-19. The report found that both older adults and caregivers had significant concerns during the pandemic related to social isolation, mental health, use of technology, food delivery services, and more.

The strategy

Invest in programs that improve technological literacy among older adults. Respond to the unmet needs of older adults and caregivers during public health emergencies. Provide online resources for older caregivers aged 60+ and recipients of care. Create a sustainable online destination where older caregivers and recipients of care can find resources, tailored content, and easy-to-access information.

The solution

In August 2021, OATS launched a virtual course on digital essentials explicitly designed for older adult caregivers and recipients of care. The free, six-week online course, Digital Essentials for Older Adult Caregivers & Recipients of Care, empowered attendees with the skills needed to navigate and understand the digital world. After the live course was offered, OATS created a series of six videos to serve as a more permanent resource available to caregivers. The videos, recorded by a Senior Planet trainer, demonstrate how digital tools and platforms can help make everyday tasks easier and can be used to improve physical and mental well-being. Video topics include Online Safety, Facebook Groups, Your Health Online, Food, and Grocery Delivery, Internet of Things for Health and Home, and Connecting on Social Media. The videos are a part of a CDC Foundation project, utilizing donor funds from the flexible COVID-19 Response Fund, designed to help during the pandemic and beyond, and remain available alongside other resources for caregivers on