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Technology Can Help Reduce Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults

Online learning during coronavirus crisis.
LA Johnson

The state of Michigan found technology is an effective tool to reduce isolation and loneliness in older adults.

State data show some 40-percent of older Michiganders live alone. Now the state renewed a program called GetSetUp to offer classes and socialization to seniors. Classes are taught by experts who are 55 or older and available 24 hours a day. Classes are also taught in English, Spanish, Hindi and Mandarin.

The classes cover things like email and zoom, photography, and fitness.

Kayla Smith is a Health Promotion and Wellness Coordinator at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“GetSetUp is a unique, interactive learning community where older adults can pursue helpful and exciting learning opportunities,” said Smith. “They can participate in these interest groups on various topics for social engagement, or be involved in the classes that teach them things like using technology.”

To access the program, members can either use their laptop or mobile phone. The MDHHS created an agreement with the Library of Michigan and its 400 branches around the state until 2023.

The partnership between GetSetUp and the MDHHS started in 2020 where over 100 thousand older adults joined.

“With the pandemic, we realized that there was a need for older adults to really understand how to best utilize their devices and also the internet in services,” said Communication Manager at GetSetUp Liz Miller.

Some of the first classes offered at GetSetUp were online banking, prescription refills, and getting food delivered.

State officials said this year's goal is to nearly double the number.

Alexis Seeley is a journalism major from Macomb, MI. Alexis is going into her fourth year at Central Michigan University.