Alan Sands traded stocks professionally until he was 52. Now 90, he was without a computer or the skills to use it, and the world had gone completely online. His daughter helped him add apps to his smartphone, but the phone wasn’t adequate to meet all his needs.
One day, Alan saw a flyer from Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging (AAA) on the bulletin board of the retirement community where he lives advertising the California Department of Aging’s Connections, Health, Aging, and Technology (CHAT) program, which provides low-income and disabled older adults with free tablets. Community Tech Network provides digital literacy training to CHAT participants to help them learn to use their new devices.
Alan feels very lucky. The program was already out of devices, and he was placed on a wait list. Fortunately for Alan, there was an unexpected opt-out, and a new iPad was delivered to his door in a few days. He was so eager to learn about technology that he couldn’t wait to take the classes. He proceeded to contact his instructor, CTN’s Freddy Piedrahita, directly.
Typically, CHAT learners participate in CTN’s Home Connect Program and receive virtual technology classes from their own homes over Zoom. However, Alan had very limited knowledge of the internet, and remote learning was not an option.
CTN decided that Alan would be a good candidate for one-on-one, in-person classes. Alan and Freddy met weekly in a conference room in the retirement community where Alan lives. Alan was particularly interested in accessing emails on his iPad, syncing his contacts with his iPhone, taking photos and shooting videos, watching videos on YouTube, and most importantly, having his apps configured and synched with the apps on his smartphone.
Says Freddy: “It was very rewarding to see Alan’s face every time he learned those topics. Being able to do those things that he couldn’t do prior to CTN’s training changed his life completely. Alan feels more confident and doesn’t feel as isolated. He always has something to do now and different ways to make his days and life more fulfilled.”