COLORADO SPRINGS — We rely on technology in most aspects of our life and it's always changing. Many of our seniors are struggling to keep up and it can limit their ability to access things like healthcare, banking, housing, and even just staying connected.
A partnership between Silver Key Senior Services and Older Adult Technology Services (OATS) from AARP is providing our local seniors an opportunity to work on their tech skills in a computer lab for free with volunteers and experts available to help. It’s all about building confidence and a community they can talk to about potential problems online.
”Most seniors, including myself, we get in the house and we get comfortable, but when it comes time to doing something we have to call in an expert to help,” said Maria Peterson, a senior living in Colorado Springs. “I’d like to do it on my own.”
She is one of several local seniors who had the courage to sign up for a technology class in the new computer lab at Silver Key in Colorado Springs.
”When you don’t use it you lose it. Technology is always changing and there are a lot of things you’re going to get left behind in if you don’t try to keep up,” said Peterson.
She says being in this classroom surrounded by fellow seniors who are learning too is important to her.
"There are some people in the class that haven’t touched a computer and I can turn over and say it’s going to be ok,” said Peterson.
These classes are made possible due to the partnership through a licensing program model offered by OATS that allows Silver Key Senior Services to deliver Senior Planet, OATS flagship program, to local residents free of charge.
”There are almost 22 million older adults over the age of 65 that are not connected to the internet at all,” said Dayton Romero, who helps lead the effort for OATS and Senior Planet from AARP.
The OATS from AARP program in Colorado has worked hard to get more people access to the internet statewide, but with that access comes the need for affordable and accessible training like this.
”People pick up technology for different reasons, everyone has a different why of why they pick up the device. Those social impact areas align with things like health and wellness, creative expression, we also have another one which has to do with financial security,” said Romero.
Annie Hewitt is one of the leaders at Silver Key who has seen this class unlock doors for area seniors.
”Access to things like housing, mobile banking, social media, or even how to search for something on the internet,” she said.
Unfortunately being connected online also comes with the potential for scams, fraud, identity theft, and cybersecurity dangers, but this classroom setting is also providing a forum to have some of those tough conversations.
”Through this shared connection they’re able to identify what those threats are and be more open with each other about talking about them so they can safeguard themselves better against possible threats or scams or anything like that because they are talking to each other,” said Hewitt.
Peterson says when she finished the class she's hopeful she'll be more confident using her computer at home, but ultimately she's building confidence here that will help her avoid trouble online.
”You just have to be mindful that there are people out there who are not so nice," said Peterson. "When you know better you do better."
If you, or a senior in your life are interested in learning more about these classes and getting involved both Silver Key and AARP OATS from AARP leaders provided these resources...
11/7/23 10:30-12pm: Staying Safe Online
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12/5/23 10:30-12pm: Money Matters
12/12/23- 10:30-12pm: Intro to Social Media: Facebook and Instagram
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About OATS from AARP
Older Adults Technology Services(OATS) from AARP helps older
adults learn to use and leverage technology to transform their
lives and their communities. Through its flagship program, Senior
Planet, OATS works closely with older adults to create
extraordinary experiences in-person and online. As one of AARP’s
charitable affiliates, the mission of OATS from AARP is “to
harness the power of technology to change the way we age.” To
learn more, visit www.oats.org [oats.org] or follow @OlderAdultsTech on social media.
About Senior Planet from AARP
Senior Planet from AARP is a community of people 60 and older
who are learning to thrive in the digital world. Senior Planet
programs are offered free of charge online and in-person at
Senior Planet locations across the country to help older adults
build technology skills to allow them to improve their health,
make new friendships, save money, and advocate in their
communities. Senior Planet curriculum includes nearly 100 multi-week courses, lectures, and workshops. To learn more, visit
www.seniorplanet.org [seniorplanet.org] or follow @SeniorPlanet on social media.
Silver Key is the first Senior Planet licensed site in Colorado Springs, one of five, and we are proud to partner with them to delivery our world-class programs.
About the Senior Planet licensing program
The Senior Planet licensing program powerfully equips local
organizations across the country with the tools to help seniors access
technology and use it to enhance their lives. Through an adaptable
program model, the licensing structure works with community-based
organizations to develop local trainers to deliver Senior Planet’s
proprietary curriculum and bring world-class programs to older adults
where they live.
Licensed partners can be any organization that wishes to deliver
Senior Planet programs to older adults in their area. We currently
work with 300+ local libraries, senior centers, and more!
Learn more and sign up for updates at: oats.org/licensing [oats.org]
Senior Planet National Hotline
Over the Phone
For 1 on 1 technology help or questions, older adults can call the Senior Planet Hotline to speak with a technology trainer. Open Monday – Friday from 7am – 6pm MT: 888-713-3495
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