NEW YORK, December 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Thousands Washington, DC seniors today participated in an external resource fair — hosted by Outdated Connected, an initiative of Technology Services for Older Adults (OATS) from AARP — to learn more about connecting to the Internet. Organized with support from Comcast, today’s event provided a platform for older adults to hear directly from experts about low-cost Internet programming, including Internet Essentials from Comcast; government benefit programs, including the Emergency broadband benefit (EBB) and the new one Affordable Connectivity Program; and free lessons to learn how to use a computer safely, provided by Senior Planet of AARP.
*Link to the current aging Connected Remote Resource Fair*
According to research obtained through the Aging Connected initiative, nearly 80% of the Washington, DC residents aged 18-64 have fixed broadband at home, while only 62% of the Washington, DC residents 65 and older do — resulting in a significant access gap and underscoring the opportunity we must seize to close it.
Last month, President Biden signed into law a bipartisan infrastructure bill that: $65 billion to improve high-speed Internet access and affordability and expand the number of Americans eligible for discounted Internet services. The infrastructure bill introduces a permanent version of the temporary EBB, the so-called Affordable Connectivity Program. Over the coming months, Aging Connected will focus its efforts on empowering older adults with the information, resources and support systems needed to connect to the Internet.
“We’re thrilled to have so many older adults from DC joining us for today’s external resource fair. It’s clear from today’s attendance and engagement that Washington, DC seniors want to learn more about using the internet and how to connect,” said Amanda Gimble, director of Aging Connected. “Too many older adults in Washington, DC, and across the country, lack access to an affordable, high-speed Internet connection, and Aging Connected is on a mission to close the current connectivity gap. We look forward to working with our partners in the local community to ensure older adults have the skills and resources needed to participate in the digital world.”
“The internet has become such a central part of our society, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and there’s no reason why older adults should be left out,” he said. said Tom Kamber, founder and executive director of OATS of AARP. “Connecting older adults to the Internet is at the heart of what we do at OATS, and it was great to see so many seniors participating in today’s event to learn more about the services and classes available to make affordable , fast broadband services a reality. The bottom line is that internet access will enable so many older adults to participate better in everyday life. We have an incredible opportunity ahead of us to get more older adults online, and OATS is ready to take on this challenge.”
“Older adults, especially those living in underprivileged communities, are too often left out of the Internet access conversation and not given the tools necessary to learn and understand how to use the Internet,” said Dr. Nicol Turner Lee, a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and the moderator of the current remote resource fair. “Events like the current External Resources Fair are so important in breaking down the psychological and societal barriers that still exist, as well as showing older adults how easy and cost-effective it is to connect. It’s great to be a part of creating a program that is fully committed to digital equality and working with seniors to go online.”
“Washington, DC is home to many incredible older adults that we are proud to work with every day,” said Le’Anetta Tolar-Obasanjo, director at Seabury Resources for Aging in Washington, DC. “At Seabury Resources for Aging, we know that the Internet and the use of technology can play an important role in improving the quality of life for seniors and keeping them connected with loved ones. We are proud to partner with Aging Connected and Comcast on current External Resources Fair, and are excited to continue to do our part in connecting older adults and bridging the digital divide.”
“We are excited to continue our long-standing partnership with OATs through this incredible and timely event for seniors,” said Steve Hackley, Senior Vice President, Community Connections, Comcast. “Comcast launched Internet Essentials a decade ago because we recognized that having an Internet connection at home would open up a world of expanded possibilities for all Americans. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of connectivity in today’s digital world, and we’re working tirelessly with our partners and the federal government to ensure every senior can fully participate in the digital world.Internet Essentials, Comcast’s comprehensive broadband adoption program, is uniquely positioned to support seniors through fixed and consistent pricing, dedicated customer support, and access to digital skills training to offer. “
In addition to more information about connecting, the external resource exchange will provide information about a competition where 15 older adults will win a Chromebook. Participants, or trusted friends on their behalf, have up to Dec 30 Bee 11:59 PM EST, 2021, to enter, and winners will be notified by the end of January 2022.
*Link to the current aging Connected Remote Resource Fair*
In January 2021OATS and the Humana Foundation released a report, “Connected Aging: Uncovering the Hidden Connectivity Crisis for Older Adults“, which found that 22 million American seniors — representing 42 percent of the country’s over-65s — did not have broadband access at home.
Washington, DC -based participating organizations include: Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center, Iona Senior Services, Seabury Resources for Aging, and the United Planning Organization.
AARP’s Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) helps older adults learn to use and harness technology to transform their lives and their communities. Through its flagship program, Senior Planet, OATS works closely with older adults to create extraordinary experiences, both in person and online. The mission of OATS is “to harness the power of technology to change the way we age”. OATS is a charitable affiliate of AARP. For more information, visit www.oats.org or follow @OlderAdultsTech on social media.
Contact: Dean Pearce, [email protected]
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SOURCE AARP . Older Adult Technology Services