Central Oregon Council On Aging announced Monday that the Teen Elder Computer Help (TECH) Program has been recognized by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) with an Aging Innovations Award, the highest honor presented by n4a.
The awards program is sponsored by CST your Link to Life (CST-LTL). COCOA’s TECH Program was among the top 10 of 44 local aging programs to receive honors at the n4a Annual Conference & Tradeshow, July 7-12, in Denver, CO.
The 2012 n4a Aging Innovations Awards recognized Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and Title VI Native American aging programs that have developed cutting-edge and successful approaches to support older adults, persons with disabilities and their family caregivers. The honored programs are exemplary initiatives that others in the Aging Network can replicate in their local communities.
“As the nation’s older adult population continues to grow dramatically, we are going to need to develop more and more innovative strategies to address the needs of the 60+ population as well as to find new ways to utilize the many assets they possess. We are so pleased to be able to recognize and honor these innovative and successful programs and practices that are doing just that,” said n4a CEO Sandy Markwood.
“Our award winners are leaders in developing creative solutions, born out of the Aging Network’s ongoing commitment to support the independence and well-being of older adults. We congratulate and thank each of these programs for being true models for the entire Aging Network.”
COCOA’s Teen Elder Computer Help (TECH) Program pairs volunteer teens with seniors for social media training on Facebook, digital camera photo downloading and cell phone usage.
This intergenerational opportunity serves as a resource to seniors who want to keep in touch with family members and friends, and feel comfortable accessing technology to connect.
“But perhaps more importantly, it is a wonderful time where teens are the teachers and seniors are the beneficiaries of the knowledge base. The exchange of stories, sharing of laughs and transfer of knowledge is simply magical,” states Pamela Norr, executive officer at COCOA and developer of the TECH program.
“We feel social connectivity is so important for seniors, and the keeping in touch with family and friends is critical to avoiding isolation. Social media is just one avenue to make that happen.
"But learning to use a cell phone is a huge safety issue and one of the easiest ways for family members and seniors to connect. Learning these skills from the experts – the teens – is fantastic. The teens are patient experts.”
The TECH classes are free of charge and offered periodically throughout the year.
The 2012 n4a Aging Innovations Awards honored programs in several categories that include Caregiving, Financial Assistance, Home & Community-Based Care, Technology, Transportation, Volunteerism/Civic Engagement and ‘You Name It.’
Central Oregon Council On Aging is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting dignity, well-being, security and independence for Central Oregon seniors and adults with disabilities, and is the designated Area Agency on Aging. For more information to donate, volunteer or support COCOA, please call 541.678.5483 or see www.councilonaging.org
The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) is the leading voice on aging issues for Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) across the country and a champion in our nation’s capital for Title VI Native American aging programs. n4a’s primary mission is to build the capacity of its members to help older persons and persons with disabilities live with dignity and choices in their homes and communities for as long as possible. (www.n4a.org / www.facebook.com/n4aACTION)