The Humana Foundation, which partners with OATS to combat social isolation in San Antonio, made a grant of $3 million to OATS as part of a nationwide coronavirus recovery effort. OATS will create a national initiative to close the connectivity gap for older Americans and help seniors who are new to the digital world effectively navigate the new landscape of care in sustainable, meaningful, and affordable ways.
Only 67 percent of Americans over the age of 65 have broadband at home, compared to 86 percent for the rest of the population.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept across the country, and nearly 50 million older people face an ongoing and indefinite period of confinement in their homes, this disparity in internet connectivity, and the lower levels of digital literacy and device uptake among older Americans in general, have come into stark relief for seniors, their families, policymakers, and the healthcare sector,” said Fred Fields, OATS COO.
With meaningful access to the internet and mainstream devices, and by becoming more comfortable with digital technologies, older Americans can have more confidence in accessing health services like telemedicine, which opens up possibilities for seniors, including the homebound.