The Neil Squire Society (new window)’s Technology Accesibility Group developed a community based program, Seniors On Seniors (SOS) Technology, to introduce seniors to new technologies. A series of free workshops were held in partner CAP sites across Canada, where seniors volunteered and mentored other seniors in the use of new technology.
The program linked Community Access Program (opens in a new window) > (CAP) sites with Seniors’ organizations and retired volunteers to deliver hands on training and peer to peer support to older adults. Group workshops were delivered by volunteer seniors. Workshops featured a specific technology, including a seminar and notes on its role and function. Technology was available to use and sample, allowing a hands on feel of how the technology works and can be used.
SOS Technology workshops focused on:
- Cellular Telephones (cell phones)
- Personal Emergency Response Systems
- Blood Pressure Monitors
- Caller ID, Voice Mail, and Answering Machines
These technologies were identified in the first year of research conducted for this project. Samples of these technologies were available at the workshop for hands on training and use. It was expected that teaching seniors how to use new technologies would increase the successful uptake, therefore helping Canadian seniors to live more independent and fuller lives.
SOS Technology was piloted in eight host sites across Canada, including:
- Burnaby, British Columbia
- Penticton, British Columbia
- Biggar, Saskatchewan
- Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan
- London, Ontario
- Kitchener / Waterloo, Ontario
- Fredericton, New Brunswick
- Inkerman, New Brunswick
This three year project began with a series of focus groups and telephones surveys with seniors in rural and urban sites in four provinces across Canada. The research provided insight into the adaptation of technology by seniors, including:
- Identifying barriers that prevent seniors from adopting new technologies
- Prioritized what technologies seniors desired to learn
- Illustrated what they wanted to learn about these technologies
- Demonstrated that some products are not being use due to their complexity
- Participants – resources for program participants
- Volunteers – resources for the recruitment and training of volunteers, including training materials
- Site – resources to the site administrator to successfully run the program
- Manuals – source manuals of the provided technology
Results were used to develop a curriculum for the SOS Technology program. The program was piloted at eight host sites across Canada until December 2007. The program was then evaluated, and the results made available online to our funder.
Four manuals were developed for the SOS Technology program. These manuals support participants, volunteers, and the host site in delivering the SOS Technology program. The manuals form a self contained package with all information necessary to make it easy for host sites to promote and co-ordinate the program.
This program was made possible through funding provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
We thank all of our partner sites across Canada in the piloting of the program. Partner sites participating in this program are all members of Community Access Program (CAP).
The Neil Squire Society would also like to thank the following sponsors for donations of technology to SOS Technology program: Nokia, Logic Mark and Alliant.