Lauren Loor is the Statewide Program Manager for Healthy Eating + Active Living (HEAL) Initiative.…
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a connectivity crisis among kūpuna in Hawaiʻi. Social distancing has isolated many from their family and loved ones, and has prevented many from carrying out essential daily activities, like grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions. Digital devices (i.e. computers, smartphones, tablets) have kept many kūpuna socially connected through virtual communications, and innovative applications have provided opportunities to receive essential services safely while maintaining social distance. Additionally, a variety of services, ranging from ordering food to applying for critical benefit programs, have shifted to online processes. However, access to a home internet connection and a digital device is not a guarantee for all kūpuna in Hawaiʻi. Furthermore, not all kūpuna have the know-how required to effectively navigate the complexities of technology.
As a step toward addressing this important issue, HIPHI is working with AARP Hawaiʻi to develop a Kūpuna Digital Inclusion Roadmap. The roadmap will:
- Capture current digital inclusion resources, initiatives and services for kūpuna in every county;
- Outline the existing data on gaps in internet connectivity, access to technology, and digital literacy levels among kūpuna;
- Highlight insight gathered from listening sessions with kūpuna in every county; and
- Provide recommendations to address the digital divide (e.g., ideas for legislation, potential digital literacy projects).
This document is intended to educate and inform the aging network, act as a foundation for future funding opportunities and next steps, and ultimately increase kūpuna use of digital technology. The roadmap is timely, as it helps Hawaiʻi to be well prepared to leverage the large broadband funding that is part of the Federal infrastructure bill.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep kūpuna socially and physically isolated, it is crucial to continue to develop and implement strategies to improve access to affordable home internet services, digital devices, and opportunities to learn to effectively use those devices.
For more information, contact Kayla Carlisle (firstname.lastname@example.org).