Connecting to Community
Current AARP Foundation research shows that isolation is a social problem that affects nearly one in five older Americans. AARP Foundation Connecting to Community™ is a new pilot program that is designed to combat the issue of social isolation in older adults by connecting individuals age 50 and older to activities where they can adopt new skills, increase social networks, and receive technology training, hardware and internet connection.
The goal of AARP Foundation Connecting to Community™ is to increase access to technology for older adults who have been unable to take advantage of the benefits of web based information and communication tools that can strengthen and expand social networks. As part of the program, participants receive iPad tablets, internet service, five months of volunteer-led instruction, and training and support.
Family Matters of Greater Washington, one of the nation’s oldest, nationally-accredited social services organizations, is facilitating the pilot program in Washington DC, providing volunteers and recruiting participants in the DC metro area over two six-month periods which began on May 6th, 2013.
Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), a nationally-recognized expert in providing technology training to older adults developed the curriculum for AARP Foundation, and will train and support volunteer instructors.
If successful, the pilot could provide a basis for a larger national expansion of the model.