Senior focused organization AARP inked a deal with the Older Adult Technology Services in order to help seniors navigate the digital landscape and improve their online literacy.
This announcement coincides with the news that AARP is launching its a new online community to help elders find free online classes and events.
The goal of the partnership is to help seniors boost their digital savvy in order to engage in social activities, healthcare and other services online. Seniors will be able to check out the AARP Virtual Community Center in order to take digital literacy courses, as well as exercise classes, caregiving classes and university lectures.
WHY IT MATTERS
During the coronavirus pandemic more and more activities have turned digital. Everything from socializing to accessing healthcare became accessible online. Many have pitched technology as a means of tackling loneliness during the pandemic.
“The role of technology in reducing social isolation and providing a platform for civic engagement has never been clearer,” said OATS executive director Tom Kamber. “By joining forces, OATS complements AARP’s existing enterprise-wide digital strategy to help millions of older adults nationwide embrace personal technology in ways that help them live their best lives.”
But tech isn’t just being used for socialization. Increasingly we are seeing tech’s role in healthcare – and it’s having value added.
“I think there are some added side benefits, like the clinician can see the patient in their home. They can now see the medications scattered on the kitchen table,” AARP Chief Medical Officer Dr. Charlotte Yeh, said a HIMSS20 Digital event earlier this year. “When we wonder about medication adherence or on the right day, you now have a good appreciation of what your patient is doing in the home, in the house, and can make those adjustments, which we never had access to before.”
THE LARGER TREND
AARP has been interested in the digital space for some time. In 2019, AARP’s Innovation Lab announced an app-based platform that employs in-home VR for a range of different use cases and capabilities. The tech includes challenges to stimulate the brain’s executive functions, memory and cognitive skills and uses neck exercises and pain management.
Its innovation labs have also hosted tech challenges. For example, in June the AARP Innovation Labs announced the winners of its Hacking Menopause Challenge, which aimed to build noninvasive technologies aimed at tackling hot flashes, fatigue, sleep disorders and other common menopause related symptoms.