With Tech 4 You, JFS Helps Older Adults Get Online
Jewish Family Service LA’s latest innovative program, Tech 4 You, is designed to help older adults become better acquainted with technology, specifically programs like Zoom, with the help of dedicated staff who will visit them in their home. With this technical assistance, JFSLA hopes to connect more older adults to our online programming.
“During COVID, we moved our programming online, and while there was a large group of older adults who were able to get online and access our classes, there was a whole group that did not,” said Kimiko Kelly, JFS Director of the Arts, Wellness, & Engagement Program (AWE). “We see a big need to help and provide assistance to those who were not able to get online on their own because we see that those who do get online are successful in keeping themselves active and socializing.”
Clients who enroll in the program are provided a free Chromebook with built-in internet connection or a device from Uniper Technology that connects to their televisions. Brooke Schwartz, JFSLA’s new Client Technology Coordinator, provides personalized in-home training on how to set up and use these devices and platforms and helps older adults become comfortable connecting to JFSLA’s online programming. Clients begin by receiving multiple trainings in basic technology skills, and once they are comfortable with the technology, Brooke visits them once a month to check on their progress.
Since its launch earlier this fall, the Tech 4 You program has trained 27 older adults. Currently, the program has 24 Chromebook clients and 64 Uniper Device clients, with the goal to serve 120 Chromebook clients and 74 Uniper Device clients.
“When we talk to clients and tell them we can set them up with a Chromebook and train them on how to use it, people are happy and surprised,” said Kimiko Kelly. “It’s amazing to take someone who just had a few barriers to overcome and empower them to explore a whole new world.”
Brooke Schwartz added, “Some people have never used a computer before and are apprehensive to use one. It takes time, but I think being able to sit down with someone in person to teach them how to use the technology makes a big difference and takes away the barrier to accessing services virtually. We have clients who didn’t have a device and had never used Zoom, who after learning the technology with us say, ‘Let’s join a class!’ and just carry-on joining time after time.”
Beyond helping clients of JFSLA’s Arts, Wellness, & Engagement Program, Tech 4 You is available to any older adult who is need of a device to meet with their JFS Care Manager, Social Worker, or Therapist. Once established, older adult clients are also encouraged to use their devices to connect with family and friends to help reduce feelings of isolation.
“Despite some reduction in COVID restrictions, there are older adults who are homebound and removed from their family and friends, so we see this technology program as a great tool for them to remain connected and remain active,” said Kimiko Kelly.
For Kimiko and Brooke, every client they’ve helped has been a success story worth telling. From helping a retired engineer have access to a device to helping a client who had never used a device before attend two virtual classes in one day, they’re all wins not only for their team, but for the client too.
“We have happy, friendly staff who want to support and empower clients through this program,” said Kimiko Kelly. “We know there is a stigma and frustrations when it comes to older adults and technology, but our Tech 4 You team is here to help people through it all and to make it as easy as possible for them to connect to a whole new world.”
The Tech 4 You Older Adult Technology Program is generously funded by the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles.
To learn more about Tech 4 You, please contact Brooke Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 213-434-4520.