SAN DIEGO–From October 20 through October 23, San Diego Oasis will host its eighth annual “Get Connected: Technology Fair for adults 50 and older, and for the first time the event will be completely virtual.
Touted as the region’s largest technology event, the nonprofit anticipates more than 10,000 older adults to attend, including not only local members, but also older adults from around the United States.
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Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s more important than ever to get older adults connected to technology. Older adults ages 50 and over are not only in the highest risk category of contracting the virus, but also for isolation and loneliness. One study says that prolonged isolation and loneliness is equivalent, and as lethal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. But when older adults can actively engage, they have a positive attitude, feel more connected and curious to explore the world.
“San Diego Oasis is excited to host our first-ever virtual Tech Fair,” says Simona Valanciute, president and CEO, San Diego Oasis. “Since March, we moved all of our in person classes virtual to continue servicing our members, keeping them active and independent as we don’t want them to lose momentum. This is the perfect time to host a multi-day online event like this to support our tech-curious older adults venture into the digital world and help integrate tech into their daily lives.”
According to a 2019 study from Pew Research, older Americans are spending more time in front of their screens than a decade ago. Today, 73% of adults age 65 and older are internet users, compared to 14% in 2000, and just more than half (53%) are smartphone owners. However researchers at UCSD’s Design Lab who analyzed older adults’ perspectives on technology intended to allow them to “age in place,” found when the seniors experienced frustration with new technology, it made them unsure of their ability to use it, leaving them unmotivated to try. San Diego Oasis strives to support its members and the local older adult population to encourage them to learn, try and stay engaged.
Although online, “Get Connected” will feature free sessions presented by knowledgeable speakers addressing a wide variety of technology-related topics, including social networking, online safety, innovative apps, smartphones and tablets, and much more. Attendees will have the opportunity to consult with experts to answer just about any kind of tech question like ‘how do I connect all of my devices to my smart watch?’ or ‘how do I spot an online scam?’ Opportunity drawings for the chance to win exciting tech-related gifts will be held throughout the four-day event.
This annual immersive technology event is designed to help ease frustration when it comes to smartphones, computers, tablets, apps, telemedicine, and much more. Day one of the Tech Fair will kick off with Irwin Jacobs, founder of Qualcomm who will provide opening remarks.
San Diego Oasis is currently engaging with over 5,500 older adult members to offer online classes; however, a number of its members have expressed lack of devices either due to affordability or not understanding how to use them. Not only do San Diego Oasis members learn more about how to connect to telehealth appointments, communicate with family and friends, engage in world news, and join learning groups in topics that range from basic phone how to’s, to art, languages, history, finance, music, food, health and wellness, but also stay active with online demonstrations of exercise and dance.
Events like “Get Connected” spark confidence in seniors to adapt more digital tools to help them use the technology in their pocket in ways they didn’t even imagine. “There’s nothing better than seeing our members get excited about learning to maneuver a new device or app. These are skills that will help them stay active and engaged during these difficult times, but most importantly stay connected and close with their friends and loved ones from miles away,” says Valanciute.
This event is free, but registration is required. RSVP at www.SanDiegoOasis.org.
Event sponsors include ESET, Thrivent Financial Office of Jonathan Doering and Matthew Molstre, AT&T, Cox Communications, San Diego Rotary, AARP, Oasis Everywhere, and County of San Diego Aging and Independence Services.