Older Adults Technology Services

OATS and T-Mobile Team to Combat Social Isolation Among Seniors in New York State With Expanded Senior Planet Technology Program

New York—August 29, 2019 — Today, Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) announced a new partnership with T-Mobile to expand its Senior Planet program in the largely rural North Country region of New York. The number of seniors living in rural America is expected to reach 14 million in 2020 and nearly half of rural seniors will experience social isolation, which is linked to a wide range of negative health outcomes, from depression to premature death. The Senior Planet program will provide residents aged 60 and older free technology training courses, lectures, workshops, and community events to improve their social engagement and overall quality of life.

“Social isolation among senior citizens is an invisible crisis. The good news is that technology and senior-friendly training provided in a supportive social context can counteract the effects of being alone or feeling disconnected from other people,” said Tom Kamber, executive director of OATS. “We’re excited to be working with T-Mobile, a company with a track record of meeting the needs of consumers. We appreciate their commitment to partnering with OATS to deepen our programming in the rural North Country.”

“At T-Mobile we believe everyone should have access to connectivity – whether to stay in touch with loved ones or be able to take advantage of all the resources the internet has to offer. That is why we are incredibly excited to partner with OATS and bring this innovative program to people who need it most! The Senior Planet program will now be able to empower even more seniors in New York’s North Country to expand their horizons through technology. And on a personal note, I spend a lot of time in New York and consider it a second home — so this program is really meaningful to me and I can’t wait to see it come to life!” said T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

With the support of T-Mobile, OATS will be able to grow its Senior Planet North Country programming to include:

  • Direct technology trainings for more than 100 seniors at risk of social isolation, including more than 30 hours of direct instruction and support using OATS’s curriculum, designed for older learners, and delivered by professional Senior Planet trainers.
  • The creation of a program report to summarize impact and offer recommendations for further opportunities to increase digital pathways for rural Americans.
  • A region-wide outreach and information campaign to help raise awareness about the consequences of social isolation and identify at-risk individuals in the region.

For more information about the Senior Planet North Country program and its achievements to date, see “Connecting Rural Older Americans with Technology: Lessons from Senior Planet” at http://oats.org/white-papers/.