NEW YORK, Feb. 28, 2022 — Aging Connected, an initiative to bring more older adults online led by non-profit Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) from AARP, in collaboration with Internet Essentials from Comcast, has awarded 15 older adults new Google Chromebooks. The contest winners, who have limited digital access because they lack an internet-connected device, were selected from a pool of entries describing how a laptop would change the applicant’s life.
Older adults like contest winner Karen K. shared tangible and meaningful examples of how a computer would improve their lives: “The world is completely computerized and it would be a wonderful asset if I could get a laptop to assist me in being connected online to pay bills, complete city services, buy groceries, stay in touch with my loved ones and the everchanging world. Having a laptop would allow me to stay connected.”
Aging Connected held the “Get Connected Remote Resource Fair” on December 16 to reach older adults who don’t have access to broadband internet at home. This event was part of a broader collaboration with Internet Essentials from Comcast and local community partner organizations in Boston, DC and Detroit, to help get seniors connected. The contest was open between December 16 and December 30, 2021 to all legal residents of the United States age 60 or older who attended the “Get Connected Remote Resource Fair.” The winners were recently notified and selected based on submissions about how a computer would change their lives.
“With the government’s new Affordable Connectivity Program, there is no better time for older adults to get connected affordably. These awards meet a need for selected contest winners while heightening awareness that a broadband connection at home has become an absolute necessity for older adults,” said Amanda Gimble, Director of Aging Connected. “Aging Connected strives to make sure we provide the information and help needed so that that every senior can get connected affordably.”
A May 2021 AARP study found that for adults over 50, their greatest frustration with technology today is a lack of knowledge. For the 15 older adults who received the new Chromebooks and all older adults, OATS offers free virtual courses through Senior Planet from AARP. These courses teach seniors how to incorporate technology into their lives to better thrive in the digital age. If older adults struggle to get started with their device or hit bumps in the road, OATS also offers a National Tech Hotline to assist them in their tech journeys.
“I am a person who had a massive stroke three years ago and am trying desperately to stay connected. Using only the cell phone, I get too much negative tone which is painful. Hope the laptop will help me stay connected,” said contest winner Sandy A.
Initiatives like Aging Connected are helping to provide resources, support and education to older adults about the benefits of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to help grow the number of online older adults. To address affordability, Aging Connected has spent months empowering older adults by providing them with information about the newly-permanent ACP.
The ACP replaces the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). It expands the number of low-income Americans who will qualify for the program’s benefits, including $30-a-month to pay for a high-speed internet connection. Recent findings from a study done by the University of Southern California Annenberg on the EBB “suggest there is significant room to improve program targeting and outreach efforts, as well as to facilitate enrollment procedures for key groups of potential beneficiaries.”
“I currently do not have a connected device, and I plan to use the computer with the support of the ACP program and instruction for seniors. I hope to use it for doctor’s appointments, connecting with others to help me stay positive, and for shopping to make life easier,” said contest winner Linda R.
About OATS from AARP
Older Adults Technology Services (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.