A nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding broadband in Iowa is turning its attention to the state’s elderly population. Jeremy Thacker, with Connect Iowa, says a recent study found 73% of people over the age of 70 don’t have internet access in their homes.
Thacker notes his own grandmother is “fearful” of the technology. “And I see that as being very sad for her because she is missing out on a lot of services that could really make her life easier in terms of coordinating her medications and ordering through an online pharmacy or talking to some of my cousins who live hundreds or thousands of miles away,” Thacker said.
Connect Iowa has launched an initiative to possibly create community based programs that teach seniors how to use computers. Thacker believes too many Iowans over 70 don’t know how to go online.
“Because of fear of the technology or not having access to the technology, they’re missing out on life-enhancing benefits,” Thacker said. The new initiative involves an assessment of the internet needs of 50 Iowa communities by the end of this year.
Thacker hopes to eventually have a certification program where people will be awarded discounts on broadband for learning how to use the internet.