December 2, 2022

The Area 1 Agency on Aging and Senior Planet are looking for volunteer technology trainers to help bridge the digital divide with older adults in the community.

The trainer course will cover the Senior Planet curriculum and meets five times, on Nov. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29. Upon completion, volunteers will be able to teach the following: what an iPad computer is and what it can do, how to access the internet, setup and use email and download and use common applications, like Zoom.

For more information about becoming a volunteer teacher and to sign up for trainings, contact Shauna McKenna at smckenna@a1aa.org.

When the pandemic hit in mid-March 2020, the need to order prescriptions, connect online with family members or schedule doctor appointments, became a real challenge, an A1AA press release states, especially for older adults who didn’t own a computer, know how to use the internet or own a smartphone.

A1AA received an initial supply of iPads, with two-year data plans, as part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act. These funds were designed to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis by directing vital resources to the most vulnerable.

The original statewide rollout was slow with no training offered to recipients, the press release notes. A1AA partnered with Senior Planet to become a certified trainer of Senior Planet courses, initially training three staff. Other service providers were invited to the second round of the trainer classes. Since then, the press release says, the training has gained traction as a reliable way to meet extreme community needs. The ongoing interest by older adults in iPad and training means more instructors are needed.

Recent funding through the State Master Plan on Aging will provide A1AA with additional iPads and data plans. While this new funding includes access to online training or telephone support, A1AA prefers to offer the iPad courses face to face with local trainers.

“For some, this is the first time they have used any kind of tablet or device and they have a lot of questions. Having the teacher in the room just makes it easier for them,” said Meghan Gallagher, director of Social Services at A1AA and one of the certified instructors.

 

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