CITY OF SAN MARCOS IS EMPOWERING SENIORS TO USE TECHNOLOGY IN DAILY LIVES!!!!
For many, technology played a critical role in maintaining a healthy and well-balanced life throughout the past year. As demand increased, the San Marcos Senior Activity Center team recognized the barriers to accessing technology experienced by many seniors in our community and have stepped in to help.
The San Marcos Senior Activity Center took the initiative to address the barriers and applied for a San Diego Seniors Community Foundation grant which supported programs helping seniors isolated during the pandemic. Consequently, the City was awarded $14,910 in December 2020 to fund a one-year tablet lending program called Connecting Seniors with Technology.
The program, primarily funded by the San Diego Seniors Community Foundation grant and partially subsidized by the City, enabled the Senior Activity Center staff to purchase and distribute 25 tablets and internet plans to eligible seniors for one year. To be eligible, participants had to be a resident of San Marcos, over the age of 65 and be considered low income by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development standards.
“During the pandemic, seniors were the most isolated demographic group,” said Jennifer Overman, Senior Services Supervisor. “The Senior Activity Center team delivered meals to the homes of 60 seniors each day, held drive-up events, organized virtual bingo games and implemented the Connecting Seniors with Technology Program to support seniors in our community during the challenging times. Connecting Seniors with Technology will enhance the lives of participants. Following the one-year tablet loan program, the devices will be available for daily check-out to seniors at the Senior Activity Center.”
Throughout May 2021, the City of San Marcos distributed 25 tablets and provided one-on-one introductory training for the participants, who had various levels of confidence and experience with technology. The program helped seniors gain skills and increase confidence in using a touch screen device.
Gail Klasson, a San Marcos resident since 1991, heard about the Connecting Seniors with Technology program through a friend. Before joining the program, Klasson’s son had given her an iPhone – however, she only knew how to send messages on the device.
“Since being a part of the Connecting Seniors with Technology program, I’ve been able to order shampoo online, send emails and am working on getting groceries delivered to my doorstep,” Gail Klasson said. “As I’m getting older, I need to prepare for the future of potentially not being able to drive. The tablet has allowed me to use the internet and access new resources.”
Similarly, Gary Lamb joined the Connecting Seniors with Technology program after receiving a flyer for the program when his senior meal was delivered to his home. Lamb has been using the tablet for email, Facebook and video calls with friends.
“It has been a joy to have the tablet during the pandemic,” Gary Lamb said. “I downloaded an app to attend my HOA’s virtual meeting. In the future I hope to take my tablet to the beach and read or watch Netflix.”
The San Marcos Senior Activity Center reopened with modified hours on June 15, 2021. The Connecting Seniors with Technology program plans to host in-person tablet tutorials for participants to gain confidence and learn more functionalities of the devices.
If you’re interested in volunteering for the Connecting Seniors with Technology program, please contact the program supervisor, Jennifer Overman at email@example.com or (760) 744-5535 x3608.