New site features tech programs and opportunities for older Rhode Islanders and adults living with disabilities
As part of its digiAGE Collaborative initiative launched last week by Governor Raimondo, the Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging (OHA) today announced a new, comprehensive online resource for information on technology programs and services available to older Rhode Islanders, adults living with disabilities, and family caregivers. The site is available at www.oha.ri.gov/digiAGE.
“Having the ability to digitally connect to each other and to information and services is so important today – especially during this pandemic,” said OHA Director Rose Jones. “While many older Rhode Islanders and adults living with disabilities are online, they may not be aware of the vast resources available to them to help enhance their digital literacy and quality of life. I am grateful to our many partners who helped create and curate the resources listed on the digiAGE website. I look forward to our continued progress to expand tech programs and opportunities for users of all backgrounds and ability levels.”
The digiAGE site includes information on technology courses, tutorials, and other programming that help users learn and enhance their skills. Grant and loan programs for smart devices, public WiFi maps, and discount internet programs are also listed. From the site, users can also easily connect to social networks, such as Rhode Island’s first Virtual Community Center, created by Age Friendly Rhode Island. Older Rhode Islanders of all ages, interests, and abilities can log on to the Center for a full daily schedule of free activities, including fitness and cooking classes, games and entertainment, virtual tours, educational courses, live tech help, and more.
The digiAGE Collaborative is a community-driven effort to help connect more older Rhode Islanders and adults living with disabilities to virtual communities and other tech-enabled services and opportunities. Partners in the effort include a growing list of government, non-profit, and business groups committed to developing more accessible content, training, and technology to benefit these users.
Among the early digiAGE efforts, OHA, in partnership with the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health & Human Services, announced the availability of $100,000 in grants to nursing homes to help increase use of smart devices among residents. Eligible facilities can request up to $3,000 to procure communicative technology, such as tablets and webcams, that help residents keep in touch with family and friends and better access preventative care. Applications accepted now through Friday, August 7.
According to the Pew Research Center, more than 25 percent of U.S. adults age 65+ do not use the internet. It is estimated that an equal percentage of Rhode Island’s older adult population is not online, with the lowest usage among those in lower socio-economic status households. Among Americans living with a disability, Pew reports 23 percent are not online (vs. eight percent of Americans without a disability).
For more information about the digiAGE Collaborative, visit www.oha.ri.gov/digiAGE.
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