Last spring, CTN started partnering with Sourcewise, a Santa Clara–based organization that helps older adults effectively navigate their health and life options. As a part of its digital inclusion program, Sourcewise is distributing over 600 Google Home Speakers to combat social isolation and loneliness. CTN’s role in the partnership is to train seniors and adults with disabilities how to navigate this new technology and use its benefits.
In early October, CTN staff joined Sourcewise’s digital inclusion program manager, Keri Vogtmann, to distribute devices at the Plum Tree West Apartments. Located in Gilroy, California, this 70-unit senior living development is subsidized through a HUD project-based age-restricted Section 8. Over 25 residents and caregivers attended the daylong event, and every household in attendance received its own speaker from Sourcewise.
Throughout the day, CTN instructors conducted training lessons in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. We demonstrated the device’s basic functions, like checking the weather, listening to news and music, setting reminders or alarm clocks, translating content, and making calls to contacts. We also offered the residents one-on-one assistance to help them install the speaker and invited them to attend the upcoming Q&A sessions available on Zoom.
“I originally thought that the speaker was just like an amplifier,” said a Mandarin-speaking senior after the training. “Thank you for showing me how it works. Now I understand that this is a smart speaker that can interact with me. This is very helpful because I am old and forgetful. When I don’t remember the name of a song or the actor of a movie, I can now ask the speaker.”
CTN is always excited to find new ways for seniors to engage with the digital world. For older adults who may have trouble navigating or viewing a screen, the Google Home Speaker offers a helpful alternative to laptops and tablets. We appreciate Sourcewise’s efforts to mitigate social isolation and look forward to further collaborating with them in the future!