Signal Centers Assistive Technology is pleased to announce it has received a $100,000.00 from the West End Home Foundation to help bridge the digital divide for Tennesseans age 60 and older living in Hamilton County and the 10 surrounding counties
Signal Centers was one of 30 nonprofit and governmental agencies that received grants ranging from $10,000 to $400,000.
“Technology has become increasingly important for seniors who want to stay connected with family members, pay bills online and take advantage of telehealth options,” said Lana Little, Signal Centers Assistive Technology Services director. “Signal Centers is excited to move forward and help seniors in our 10 county area to assist seniors with digital literacy skills and accessibility features.”
“Agencies and nonprofits seeking grants had to address ways their organizations would reduce social isolation and increase access to essential services for older Tennesseans through digital literacy and inclusion programming,” said Dianne Oliver, executive director, West End Home Foundation. “We look forward to seeing how Signal Centers Assistive Technology will use these funds to address the specific needs of its residents.”
Signal Centers will include in trainings the safe use of the internet.
Research shows that, when older adults are connected to technology, they become less isolated and more engaged in their communities. Older adults without internet access suffered more extreme levels of social isolation during the COVID epidemic. Many were unable to access essential services and products, and could not take advantage of telehealth, telecounseling and other telesupport services, said officials.
The digital literacy initiative, administered by the West End Home Foundation, is the last phase of the $40 million settlement handed down from Davidson County Chancery Court, Division III, Case No. 11-1548-III. Funds from this case, were designated by the Court to be used to sustain and improve the quality of life for elderly Tennesseans.
The digital literacy grant program was created in response to the connectivity crisis experienced by our country’s older adults. An estimated 21.8 million older adults are offline at home, with only 58 percent of Americans age 65 and older with broadband internet service. The negative ramifications of this lack of connectivity became clear during the pandemic as older adults became cutoff from the families, friends and communities.