Impact on Older Adults

Older and other at-risk adults are staying home to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology has become an increasingly important tool for us to stay connected to each other and to the goods, services, and supports we need to stay healthy and thrive.

What is the Digital Divide?

Success Stories of Digital Inclusion

A Wonderful Gift of Communication

Zhennan C. says receiving an iPad was unexpected, but it is "a wonderful gift of communication."

Zhennan can access the internet, read books, watch videos, and stay connected with family and friends – all in his native Chinese.

"I am already using it to help me communicate more with my social worker in English and make things easier," he adds.

He said the iPad has made a significant impact on his life and he is very grateful for the program’s generosity and kindness.

No Matter What Language, the iPad Program is a Success

Pedro C. says in his native language:
Yo nunca e usado una tableta o technologia anterior mente, pero poco a poquito estoy a prendiendo a estar mas comodo usando la tableta. Sigo usandola para a prender mas. Gracias por darme la opoitunidad de aprender.

Which translates to:
I have never used a tablet or technology before, but little by little, I am learning to be more comfortable using the tablet. I will continue using it to learn more. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn.

iPad R&R

Gracie D. uses her iPad for everything from recipes to relaxation.

When not baking her next cake or pie, Gracie enjoys playing memory games to keep her mind sharp. She also uses the iPad’s Quick Notes feature to create a list of those never-ending little tasks to take care of around the house.

iPad Expands Frank’s World

Frank H. says his iPad provided by the Connections, Health, Aging, and Technology (CHAT) program has increased his digital mobility.

"I didn’t find my phone adequate for keeping track of the various websites I use during the day," Frank said.

Now, whether seated at a coffee shop or his kitchen table, Frank uses his iPad to read the Wall Street Journal or New York Times "like real newspapers."

The training his senior center provided on Zoom and the differences in operating an iPad versus a phone or laptop have proved invaluable.

"I can’t wait to take it traveling," he added.

One iPad = A Whole New World

Eileen H. confesses, "My knowledge of the IT world was very limited."

Having never owned a computer, Eileen’s smart phone was her only digital connection. However, its tiny screen made it very difficult for her to see and type.

After receiving her iPad and taking advantage of the opportunity to learn, navigate, and experience its many uses through the Connections, Health, Aging, and Technology (CHAT) program, she says, "It’s great being exposed to a whole new world."

Eileen adds that it keeps her mind active and learning new things, and that’s she’s experiencing life with "much more confidence, understanding, and happiness."

A Kern County senior housing community is becoming tech savvy and building supportive relationships. It started when two residents enrolled in the Digital Divide Program. They needed help learning how to use their phones and tablets and avoiding online scams.

After completing the training, the pair shared their success with the community. More people started reaching out for training. After a few Digital Divide presentations, there’s a strong group of people who not only learn via the program but share and help each other.

Currently, the group is installing video doorbells to help reduce crime in the building. They have formed not only a strong, digitally connected community, but a personal one too as they work to keep each other safe and make life easier for all.

Digital Data Directly to Doctors

A partnership between the Kern County Housing Authority and the Bakersfield American Indian Health Project opened the door to connecting Kern County Native American senior communities with technology.

The large turnouts and enthusiastic participation clearly demonstrated the community’s interest in the Digital Divide program. Attendees are now using their new skills to connect their iPads to their Bluetooth enabled health devices like heart monitors and O2 sensors. This allows critical diagnostic data to be sent directly to participants’ primary care physicians.

Virtual Reality Helps Lifelong Learner Keep Learning

A friend describes Bey K. as an infinitely curious lifelong learner. Using her new iPad and a headset, Bev ventured into the worlds of virtual reality to walk through a virtual hike, soar in a hot air balloon, and enjoy 360-degree views of rivers and creeks.

Of her adventures, Bey said the experience was relaxing, therapeutic, and stress relieving. She wishes everyone could have the experience and is excited that technology can take you places from the comfort of your own homes.

"It really is amazing," she added.

iPad’s Crafty Uses

Betty P. is a faithful iPad user. When not busy using Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, she’s searching for ideas for new crafts and projects to try, as she loves being creative.

The iPad is "very handy for me," Betty says.

iPad Gives a Feeling of Success

Ying S. observes that not everyone can afford a device like an iPad, so she appreciates receiving a device from the Connections, Health, Aging, and Technology (CHAT) program.

Ying states that teachers have patiently shown her Google translate and other translation websites. Even though English is her second language, Yin uses the iPad’s camera to capture news article screenshots, which Google can then translate into her native language.

Ying also appreciates being able to connect with friends and family online and attend virtual social events.

iPad Training Proves Helpful

Sindy S. highlights the benefits of the iPad training program.

"The ‘Comparison of Google and DuckDuckGo’ session was good because I didn’t know how they differed. The ‘Affordable Connectivity Program’ session was very informative, because I didn’t know about the various options. Our local cable/internet provider costs an arm and leg."

Sindy continued, "The session on privacy was also very helpful. We learned whether we would like to share information or not, and which were the best settings to leave on and off."

Much as she enjoyed the live sessions, Sindy was very appreciative that sessions were recorded. If a scheduling conflict arose like a doctor’s appointment or family commitment, she could watch the recorded training.

"Thank you for this enriching program," Sindy concluded.

For additional information about the USAC Affordable Connectivity Program, please visit

AAA Gets "AAA" from Satisfied iPad User

Although self-described as tech savvy, Jean S. never used an iPad. It is easy to understand why she was grateful for the opportunity when her local senior center offered one-on-one and group training sessions through the Connections, Health, Aging, and Technology (CHAT) program.

"The best thing," Jean says, "was learning Zoom and connecting with friends and family around the country. It was invaluable during the quarantine to keep connected with those we were separated from."

"The older population is often overlooked when it comes to technology and education," she continued. "This was an excellent opportunity and I’m thankful we have not been forgotten. I give our instructors an ‘AAA’ for their assistance and patience."

From Ministry to Medication, iPad Helps

78-year-old Shirley S. says that she appreciates the iPad. She uses the different apps to help her to stay in touch with her family, connect to the YouTube ministry channel she enjoys, and use Google to research her medications.

Lobby Flyer Leads to Life Improvement

After reading a flyer posted in her housing complex’s lobby, 73-year-old Janet T. discovered her local Connection, Health, Aging, and Technology (CHAT) program.

After quickly learning the iPad’s simple navigation, Janet downloaded applications to support her hobbies and lifestyle.

"It keeps me focused and helps with concentration," Janet says as she logs on daily to play Mahjong, Solitaire, and listen to music, especially country music, her favorite.

Janet adds, "It keeps you from being lonely," and reduces feelings of boredom. "It’s a good thing."

Janet’s enthusiastic reviews encouraged a friend to obtain her own iPad and Janet continues to refer others to this vital program.

Staying Connected Via Social Media

Rosaline V. is still learning how to use her new iPad, but that doesn’t stop her from sharing her satisfied review:

"First, I want to say thank you for this opportunity to learn the iPad. I’ve been exposed to the various apps I’ve only heard of like Zoom, email, FaceTime, Facebook, and Instagram. By attending the class, I’ve learned to use my cell phone more effectively and stay much better connected with my family members. Thank you again."

It Helps Me to Help Myself

Before she began attending her local senior center, L. Mary W. had no idea what to expect.

"But it changed my life," she says.

She attends two to three times a week and each time it’s different. "It’s given me a new and rewarding outlook on life."

Her Connections, Health, Aging, and Technology (CHAT) program iPad is one of the big differences. It lets Mary see her grandchildren’s faces and her family and friends who live far away and participate in church and Bible study when she can’t attend in person.

"It helps me find out important things, stay busy, and not be lonely," she adds.

Of the training and technology and learning more about herself, Mary says, "What a blessing!"

A Redding Multipurpose Supportive Services Program participant has disabilities, lives alone, and cannot drive. His wife has severe dementia was institutionalized 45 minutes away over a year ago. He has not seen or talked to her since. He was so excited to get the iPad as the facility has video chat capabilities. With the iPad bridging the gap, he will be able to reconnect with his wife. He can also use it to attend appointments, which he has a lot of, and do research for things he is interested in. He’s a big research guy.