Technology training from UTSA helps older adults adapt to digital world

The training participants received a free iPad after learning how to use it and other programs

SAN ANTONIO – The COVID-19 pandemic showed us how important technology is, but older adults who don’t know how to use it became isolated.

That’s why more than 100 senior citizens received a free iPad from the University of Texas at San Antonio and the training to use it.

The iPad recipients also took a five-week technology training course where they learned to send emails, make Zoom calls and access resources on the internet.

The programming was facilitated through an exclusive partnership between UTSA, Older Adults Technology Services and the San Antonio Senior Centers.

At least six senior centers participated in the grant-funded courses. During the classes, seniors were taught to use an iPad and at the end of the course were able to keep it.

They learned how to make Zoom calls, learned how to use email, and explored Google applications and YouTube.

“The world is changing so quick -- you know, we get left behind. But if we had the opportunity to learn and we enjoyed it,” Manuel Palacios, who completed the courses, said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimated over 5,000 people lost at least $100,000 in online scams in 2022.

Tech and Customer Support schemes continued to be the most common type of fraud reported, with 17,800 complaints filed by victims over 60.

“You become a victim of crime because you’re isolated. You can’t access your money. You kind of don’t know what’s going on, bunch of negative outcomes,” said Darryl Greer with OATS.

While many businesses and family members were connecting through Zoom and Facetime, seniors grew more isolated.

Understanding technology can have health benefits as well, such as receiving care through telemedicine.

“I’m a little bit smarter, and I learned a lot,” Palacios said.

There will be another technology training course at six other senior centers in the fall, but all 160 spots have already been accounted for.

OATS said it can facilitate classes for free anywhere seniors congregate.

Seniors can get technology support and resources by calling 210-504-4862.

About the Authors

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.

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