Connect-a-Senior: Bridging the Digital Divide
The I did Something Good Today Foundation partnered with Human IT and EveryoneOn to bring you Connect-a-Senior, a new program that bridges the digital divide for seniors in need of internet access and digital literacy.
Approximately two-thirds of adults say they experience social isolation and 66 percent say their anxiety levels increased during the pandemic, per a report by the AARP.
What is the “digital divide”?
Over the past decade, the global migration toward a digitally-centered and remote lifestyle meant sweeping changes to technology at an incredibly rapid page. For some, this pace may have proven too challenging to parallel in both work and personal realms. As a result, a gap appeared between those in need of critical resources, news and information and the channels through the internet and those with access to the technology within their homes. This gap has only widened due to the COVID-19 pandemic as industries raced to adapt to the remote lifestyle necessary to maintain productivity and the CDC health criteria. This gap is what we call the ‘digital divide.’
In the face of this ever-increase distance between technology and those technologically inexpert, it is paramount that organizations like I Did Something Good Today partner to assist in the education of our seniors to internet-based devices using methods that ease the friction of onboarding with support channels.
What is Connect-a-Senior and how did it get started?
In keeping with the Foundation’s mission of battling health effects from social isolation, Connect-a-Senior empowers senior citizens to live confidently in the digital era. Through the program’s internet sponsorship program, online resources and more, seniors will learn to communicate with their family and loved ones. The program supports qualifying, low-income seniors with an annual internet subscription, virtual online classes, and internet-friendly devices.
Connect-a-Senior was conceived as an offshoot of the Foundation’s Adopt-a-Grandparent program. The pandemic CDC guidelines, subsequence lockdown and safeguarding mean greater distance between family members, and thus the Foundation’s inability to pair seniors with members of their community for regular visits and outreaches activities. The Foundation then pivoted to bring the virtual environment to the senior population through digital literacy and self-sufficiency to those isolated from their communities.
What does Connect-a-Senior include?
The program covers one calendar year of internet access, any installation fees, and the delivery of free internet-friendly devices. Devices may include, but are not limited to: laptops, desktops and tablets. Connect-a-Senior offers internet access for as low as $15.00 USD a month plus some fees. Please note some terms may apply and for details around qualification criteria, please visit the Connect-a-Senior page or download the program overview.
How can I get involved?
These efforts are funded by generous donations and sponsors from the public. If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor for a senior to receive internet access for one calendar year, please stay tuned for an update on this article on how to apply.
If you are someone who qualifies for Connect-a-Senior, or know someone who may qualify for the program, please stay tuned for an update on this article for our toll-free number.