GCC’s Cyber-Seniors Program: Technology Resources for Older Adults
The digital world has steadily expanded over the past 30 years, especially since 2020 when Covid19 forced everyone to stay home. The result has been an explosion of technology usage and digital communication as well as a growing divide between those who have access and those who do not. As a result some populations have been left behind, especially those living in poverty and older adults who did not grow up with technology.
GCC has worked to bridge this digital divide for older adults via its Cyber Seniors” program (a global initiative that connects youth with older adults, enhancing intergenerational relationships and helping older adults navigate technology) established in 2022. The program provides 1:1 tech support drop in sessions here at the college and at the Greenfield YMCA, staffed by GCC work study students.
In August of 2023, we partnered with the City of Greenfield on a project called “Tech-Savvy Seniors” funded with a grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs.
This grant, which runs through 2024, will allow GCC to expand services to older adults on campus and throughout the community. We continue to offer 1:1 tech support services, and free workshops designed to meet participants where they are.
- Engage young people to teach older adults how to use technology, troubleshoot problems, explore options, and stay safe online.
- Provide support and information to meet identified needs such as:
- Connecting with friends and family. Access to digital technologies, such as smartphones and social media platforms, allows them to stay connected with their families, friends, and communities.
- Accessing information on various topics, including health, finance, and hobbies.
- Telehealth: teach participants to consult healthcare professionals remotely. This is particularly important for those with limited mobility or living in rural areas where access to healthcare facilities might be limited.
- Engaging for fun: Expose participants to digital technologies, such as brain-training apps and online puzzles, and digital library resources.
- Accessing services: Ensure access to such services as banking, shopping, and government resources and information.
- Lifelong learning: Support exploration of opportunities for learning, including online courses and tutorials.
- Prevent financial exploitation: Provide education on internet safety and digital literacy is essential in this regard.
- Preserve dignity and independence: Digital technologies (such as smart home devices and wearable health monitors) can help in monitoring health, managing home appliances, and requesting assistance when needed.
We work with partners throughout Franklin County to leverage resources including affordable internet access and devices while promoting the well-being of older adults in the digital age.
We frequently offer standalone technology workshops for seniors—most of which are free! Topics include internet security and safety, social media, basic smart phone usage and more.
– with Dan Zunitch
Thursday December 7 • 10am–12pm • GCC Main Campus
– with Liv Dow & Jessica Lenihan
Wednesday December 13 • 11am–1pm • GCC Main Campus
Founded in 2015 by the creators of the award-winning documentary film Cyber-Seniors, this non-profit organization provides senior citizens with tech-training using an intergenerational, volunteer model. Young people are provided with lessons and learning activities to train them to act as digital mentors and senior citizens gain access to effective technology training and intergenerational communities that keep them socially connected and engaged.
Our senior technology programming is supported by funding from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs and the Greenfield Senior Center.