NEW YORK (PIX11) — A new report surveying hundreds of older New Yorkers who live in public housing shows access to tablets with free technology classes not only combats social isolation and loneliness but also depression.
Jean Dublin, 69, lives at the Woodson Houses in Brownsville and says she feels like a kid again. It’s all because she learned how to use a computer. It’s a huge victory for the great grandmother.
Dublin can now check her email, go on Facebook and Zoom with her grandkids. It started back in 2020. Dublin was one of 10,000 older New Yorkers in NYCHA who got a free tablet from a program called Connected NYCHA. She didn’t know how to use it. Dublin found out about free technology classes by a nonprofit called Senior Planet.
Senior Planet has more than 40 locations across New York City that offer free training in community and senior centers in person and virtually. You just have be over 60 years old and willing to learn. The classes teach basic computer knowledge to more advanced things, like household budgeting, how to log on to fitness classes, and even how to stream video on social media, YouTube and more.
Dublin is not alone. A new report released this week by Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), supported by the Humana Foundation, surveyed 461 seniors living in NYCHA who received free internet connected tablets. Sixty percent felt more connected to family and friends, while 52% reported less loneliness during the pandemic.
Maria Arnold, 65, who lives in the Bronx River Houses, says the pandemic was a devastating time for her family. Being online gave her comfort. Arnold says her grandkids told her she would never learn how to use a computer. She proved them wrong.