Montclair, NJ – The work of Montclair Gateway to Aging in Place – the recently established nonprofit Senior Center for our digital world – has been recognized for its efforts with a $10,000 grant from Partners for Health. The funding will be utilized in the organization’s Campaign for Digital Connectivity; specifically, the SmartSeniors/SmartPhones© (SS/SP) pilot project.
“Digital competency and connectivity are paramount to our mission because seniors who are ‘unreachable’ are at risk in this society,” says Montclair Gateway president Ann Lippel. “Our immediate focus is on closing this access and competence gap.”
The SS/SP pilot project is launching now to provide the tools to enable older residents to fully access digital resources that have become the mainstay for telehealth, social interaction, civic participation and digital commerce in our society.
The initial project will be coordinated through Montclair Gateway’s GTeam – a group of volunteer peer coaches – who are being trained in human-centered design. Volunteers will establish relationships with older residents who are reluctant or untutored users of technology and help them adopt the technology skills they need. Through meetings between clients, peer coaches and technology experts, the GTeam will help design individual Internet Connectivity Plans to incorporate skills development as well as relationship building. All plans will be designed to address the needs and concerns of navigating in the digital world.
Montclair Gateway is currently recruiting peer coaches to instruct older adults in the use of smartphones. We are looking for tech savvy people age 55 and over, who are looking to give back to the Montclair community. Volunteers should be particularly competent with digital tools and enjoy helping others use them. They should also be service oriented, have considerable patience and be good learners themselves. The GTeam will offer its members support, satisfaction and camaraderie.
This program is partially funded by Partners for Health: Partnering to advance health equity through learning, grantmaking, and advocating.