The Center for Inclusive Design and Engineering (CIDE) has recently initiated a new program to support older adults in learning and using technology to reduce social isolation and loneliness. The project will network with community resources to train tech mentors, tech coaches, and to provide coaching, training, and materials to support older adults in the Colorado.
A key component of this project is to develop online teaching and support modules that will be used by local community Tech Mentors to help older persons in their community learn to use tablets/computers/phones, etc for telehealth visits, social connection, banking, shopping, and other important activities.
The Supporting Older Adults through Relationships and Resources (SOARR) with Technology project was created to reduce social isolation and loneliness of older adults in Colorado through the application of technology. The project aims to develop resources to train 50 technology mentors throughout Colorado who will, in turn, train an additional 125 technology coaches to meet the needs of over 750 older adults.
COVID-19 has exacerbated existing health problems for many older adults, notably due to social isolation (which can lead to further health issues) and lack of remote access to healthcare (i.e., telehealth). While some federal funding is helping Colorado organizations supply the state’s seniors with technology, many of those organizations report not having the expertise necessary to support the training and accessibility requirements seniors need to ensure success.
The project began in late Spring 2021 to address that need and has focused initial work on developing an advisory committee, establishing community partnerships, conducting a statewide survey of older persons and gathering information through interviews, focus groups, and research on resources.
The two-year project is supported by the Daniel’s Fund. Over the next two years, the project will equip tech mentors with inclusive, supportive training options for older adults throughout Colorado.
More than 400,000 older adults are living with issues such as vision, hearing, memory, and mobility impairments. CIDE recognizes the need to invest in access to healthcare and the sense of community needed for older persons to achieve maximum independence and quality of life. As a community-based project, SOARR will form strategic partnerships and build strong relationships with statewide agencies to address gaps in technology accessibility, and rely on feedback from community members to create a meaningful impact on older adults across Colorado. Despite recent advances in telehealth delivery, older adults continue to need specialized support. In pursuit of these goals, Supporting Older Adults with Resources and Relationships (SOARR) with Technology aims to activate a statewide network of agencies, service providers, and volunteers to develop accessible technology resources and provide training. The SOARR project addresses the use of technology to achieve maximum independence and quality of life.
Cathy Bodine PhD, CCC-SLP
Maureen Melonis MNS, CCC-SLP/L
Expertise: Program Development, Leadership, Professional Development, Early Childhood, Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Jim Sandstrum MA, SLP
Professional Services Coordinator
Expertise: ICT Access, Smart Homes, and Cognitive Technologies
Goldie Komaie, PhD
Senior Evaluator, Center for Collaborative Education Leadership
Graduate Student in Instructional Design/eLearning
University of Colorado Denver
Brunswick, Lower Saxony, Germany
|Jackson County Council on Aging||Provides information and referral services, caregiver support and transportation for older adults in Jackson County Colorado|
|Grand Seniors at Mountain Family Center||Provides resources and services for older adults (age 60+) in Grand County to help them maintain independence and continue living at home for as long as they would choose.|
|Innovations in Aging Collaborative (IIAC)||Promotes creative approaches to address the needs of older adults in the Colorado Springs area. IIAC plans to begin a pilot training and mentorship program in early 2022 with the goal of improving the digital skills (smartphones and tablets) of older adults through intergenerational relationship building.|
|Senior Housing Options||Owns and/or manages Assisted Living facilities and subsidized housing communities for older adults and adults with barriers with a focus on enriching the lives of older adults across Colorado.|
|CU Anschutz Multidisciplinary Center on Aging||Hosts a social isolation outreach program where students from either the CU Anschutz pharmacy, nurse practitioner or dental medical school programs will pair with an older adult to have weekly to bi-monthly social phone calls.|
|Aging Services Coalition of NW Colorado||A coalition of older services providers, community members and agencies from Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Jackson and Grand counties.|
|Team Rubicon||Serves communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service, leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises.|
|Vintage||Vintage is the Area Agency on Aging serving Grand, Jackson, Summit, Pitkin, and Eagle counties. Vintage provides and connects our community with supports and services that promote aging with independence and dignity for individuals sixty and older and their caregivers in their community of choice.|
|City of Boulder- Older Adult Services||Older Adult Services is part of the City of Boulder’s Housing and Human Services Department. Our mission is to inspire and empower older adults to age well through connection, learning and play. We offer virtual and in-person programs and services in health and wellness, fitness, lifelong learning and case management.|
The SOARR project is looking for partners to help us in this important work. Click on each of the links below to get more information on how you can participate.
Complete the survey above to indicate your interest in joining our collaboration as a:
This two-year project was initially funded through support from the Daniels Fund.
CIDE's "Supporting Older Adults through Relationships and Resources (SOARR) with Technology" project is made possible by the support of the Daniels Fund