Your work is vital. We are raising funds to support it.
I spent the last week staying with one of my 90+ grandmothers in Kentucky, who lives in a senior apartment complex. My other 90+ grandmother lives down the hall. Residents have private apartments. I knew the complex provided Internet access to residents as a part of their rent, but it's not very good, so a lot of residents have their own Internet access - and I found at least 12 active networks at any given time (one night, there were more than 20).
Seniors are online, despite what so many people who are not seniors tell me.
I was really inspired this week regarding volunteering with seniors, and helping seniors be volunteers themselves. I have a web page on that subject that I've just updated as a result of my experience this week. I've focused in particular on things that are related to the Internet, such as:
Let's brainstorm more ideas! Or share actual examples of volunteers doing the above activities (I know these happen at senior centers and residential facilities, but I would like examples that involve volunteers delivering the services).
-=-=-=-=-=- Jayne Cravens Author, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
Jayne, this is such a fantastic topic.
I generally try to avoid the "me too!" / "that's awesome!" type of post lacking any new content, but I couldn't resist expressing my delight in this topic.
I'll turn this over and see what sort of other ideas or examples I can come up with. I hope some other community members come up with some, as well!
Michael DeLong | Online Community Manager
Some awesome resources, Jayne! Seniors can be an incredible valuable addition to any nonprofit volunteer program - they are dedicated and often highly skilled. Especially if you're able to provide potential leadership opportunities with your volunteer community, working with Boomers and even those older is a great way to expand the impact and capacity of your nonprofit.
At VolunteerMatch we have a special webinar series for nonprofits focused specifically on leveraging the unique skills and potential of Baby Boomers. Here's a link:
Online Communications Manager, VolunteerMatch
Thanks for the post, Shari. Actually, as this forum branch is about volunteers and tech, my post was about tech volunteering opportunities focused on people in senior homes - the volunteers using tech to assist those senior adults - rather than how to recruit senior volunteers, in general. But thanks for sharing, nonetheless.
Ah yes, Jayne, thanks for the clarification. I guess I was just responding to the bullet point about showing seniors how to participate in online/virtual volunteering.
If you are interested in the topic of supporting seniors in their use of tech, you really should be following @SeniorTechRally. Officially, it's called "TechRALLY™ for Seniors," and it's a national touring program, based out of Atlanta, that "enriches the lives of seniors by empowering them with technology education as a means to stay connected." They have a web site too, of course.
Actually, if you are interested in how tech improves people's lives, how tech can be used to deliver non-tech-related services, and assistive technology, you should be following SeniorTechRally as well!
Anyone out there working with seniors, and use computer and Internet tech - or training in such - in some way to improve their lives? Or want to?
Just want to say again that my grandmother, then in her 80s, now in her 90s, played Wii long before I did, because of a program in her senior apartment complex. Rumor has it that her avatar was nicknamed "Floozy" because of its appearance. She refuses to confirm that.
There are also seniors who still live at home who would benefit from technology and tech support as well. My father has early stage Alzheimers and some fairly significant mobility issues. We are fortunate that he still lives in his home, but his world is constantly shrinking.
I set up a Wii for my parents so my father could practice balance and get some exercise. My mother uses it as well (she is in great health).
My father has always been an avid reader, but now he suffers from double-vision and reading is increasingly a challenge for him. My brother and I bough him a Kindle, which I set up for him. He now listens to audiobooks which helps forestall boredom.
He has a very nice large monitor for his Mac, but he rarely goes into the den to use it anymore. I frequently use my Android tablet to show him things he wouldn't otherwise see. For example, I show him videos and pictures of his granddaughters. I also use it as a communication tool. When New York City released a huge archive of historical photos, I sat with my father and looked up pictures of the apartment building he lived in as a child. That opened him up to telling me stories about his childhood that I had not heard before.
I used to care for an elderly shut-in and her final years would have been so much better for her had she had access to the kind of technology I have set up for my father.
Thank you so much for your kind words about our project. We have been so excited to see, what started as a thought and passion - now translated into a national program with a national partner.
What helped us get this program off the ground was a shared vision with directors of CCRC's (Retirement Communities) and technology providers. And then last year in the fourth quarter, we piloted the program primarily in the Chicago and Michigan area. The response of the senior participants exceeded our wildest expectations. (you can see the video of that pilot HERE: http://vimeo.com/mme/techrally )
The values that have driven this program from the very beginning are:
Relevance- We want to give seniors information and help on the technology issues that truly matter to them. Just because certain technology stuff may interest or WOW us, doesn't mean the seniors care to know about it. For most Seniors, their biggest concern and goal with technology is connecting...connecting with family and friends or connecting with news and information. And their desire is to leverage technologies that will help them accomplish that goal. Texting, Photo sharing, News and information apps etc...
Simplicity - We realize that what might seem simple to "digital natives" isn't simple for seniors. From the very beginning we had to be very careful of the language we used and the concepts that we taught. We had a very delicate tightrope to walk, in that we needed to create a program that was simple and could clearly explain key apps, devices and concepts, but at the same time not being patronizing and respecting the senior's intellectual curiosity and ability to learn.
Interaction/Involvement - Too often teaching is didactic - one sided. But from the very beginning, we were committed to creating "experiences" for seniors, not simply downloading information. Therefore SeniorTechRally is just that - a Rally, or more precisely an "Event". It's fun, interactive, hands-on, informative etc...altogether, we wanted SeniorTechRally to be a memorable experience that would help melt away the fear and intimidation of technology. We also give seniors the opportunity to touch and practice on the devices, as well as we use ambassadors who move throughout the room giving specialized help for seniors.
Sustainability - Although SeniorTechRally is a singular event, we also want to create, encourage and help in continued learning - beyond the event. Therefore what happens after we leave is also just as important. In order to encourage sustainability, we have attempted to build into the program documentation that consists of all the information during the Rally (which the Seniors take with them), developing continued communication and support through blog and/or newsletter, and an introduction during the rally of local technology experts etc....
We just finished round one last year...with great success, and even learned a lot...now we are positioned to go nationally in round two in 15 different markets again this fall. Because of the underwriting and support we've received for this project, little to no cost is passed onto the CCRC's (there are some costs for the CCRC in terms of their own marketing costs to the community or if food is provided etc...in other words, their costs are simply THEIR costs incurred to host it at their site- but what CCRC's don't pay for is our program costs -zero!)
Thanks for letting me give a quick overview...If anyone has any questions or would like to learn more, I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you SO MUCH for posting! Would love to hear more from you! Feel free to post to the TechSoup community any time - would love to hear what software you use to track and manage volunteers, how you leverage social media, how you build the capacities of your staff re: tech, what you've learned re tech in running your org, challenges in using tech - anything!
Also, hope you will complete your online community profile. That will help community members know more about you and your org. Here are guidelines on how to do that:
Thanks again for posting!
I have spent some time in the past teaching seniors IT skills. In my experience the killer apps for seniors that catches their interest are communication tools, in particular email and for the more adventurous Skype. Among my students in the UK it is not uncommon for themCalendar, scheduling and note taking apps can help people who are getting absent minded.One feature of seniors is that they frequently benefit from using assistive technology software such as magnification software and having some knowledge and skills is a useful for tutors.A great web site for seniors (and others) is www.librivox.org that provides free audio books. The catalogue is large but mostly of works that are out f copyright. As they are read by volunteers sometimes the quality can suffer but the recordings are free, so live with it!
"A great web site for seniors (and others) is www.librivox.org that provides free audio books."
I think a great program would be getting seniors to volunteer with librivox as readers!
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