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City Helping Seniors Stay Connected, Closing Digital Divide

Department of Senior Affairs and DiverseIT offering free tech-savvy help for seniors

The City of Albuquerque’s Department of Senior Affairs saw first-hand the impact of isolation on older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. To help bridge the widening digital divide, the City has partnered with DiverseIT of Adelante to offer FREE technology programs specializing in teaching older adults about digital technology and helping navigate the internet. The free technology classes will be offered at all of the City of Albuquerque’s senior centers and multigenerational centers, as well as select Bernalillo County senior meal sites.   

“Our senior population was one of the most deeply impacted by the pandemic when staying connected with our loved ones became a struggle for many,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “In Albuquerque, we cherish our multigenerational families and have stepped up to bridge the digital divide and break down barriers that cause isolation. From kids who need internet for learning, to this powerful partnership to help our parents and grandparents safely learn and use technologies, we’re helping our residents at all stages of life stay connected.”

The technology programs offered take a guided approach with step by step demonstrations, in addition to one on one tutoring sessions for those who might want a little more practice. Participants are encouraged to bring their personal smartphones, tablets, or laptops to the mentoring sessions to help learn tips and tricks on their own devices. Along with digital literacy, we also want to bring awareness to the City’s WiFi in Neighborhoods program, which provides free internet access in parks, community centers, and neighborhoods throughout Albuquerque. 

Another important focus for this program is to ensure older adults are also aware of risks when connecting through technology. One main objective is to provide education on the potential dangers such as malware, identity theft, and most importantly email and internet scams. 

“For some older adults, the jump from a cell phone to a smart phone or even a laptop can be a leap that is too far without any training in between,” said Anna Sanchez, Director of Senior Affairs. “It is important for us to be mindful that some of this technology is brand new and we want our seniors to be aware of the good and the bad when discovering the benefits of technology.”

The City of Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs will be offering FREE technology programs at all centers every month through May 2022. For more information about class topics and schedules, please visit the website or call 505-764-6400, Monday – Friday during the hours of 8am – 4:30pm