Technology Enablement for Older Adults (TEA)

Technology Enablement for Older Adults (TEA)

As of 2019, 31.9% of older adults still did not use the Internet – a staggering percentage that would prove even more problematic due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), virtual care jumped from 1.6% of total ambulatory visits in the second quarter of 2019 to 70.6% in the second quarter of 2020; according to AgeWell, 66% of older adults in Canada have felt isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet the same percentage of older adults believe technology advances can help to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on daily life.

Getting older adults to take charge of their digital literacy journey is by no means an easy task, but it is necessary and possible in today's world. In alignment with Baycrest's values, we also see this task as a moral responsibility to our community. Therefore, as a response to this crisis, BIO - in collaboration with various partners across campus and beyond - developed the 'Technology Enablement for Older Adults' (TEA) program. Click below to learn more about the initiative.

The TEA program is a structured 8-week program that empowers older adults to benefit from the online world, opening up the digital door to many the possibilities and services available online. Developed based on Baycrest's unique knowledge of the best practices to engage older adults, the TEA program was launched at Two Neptune Drive to great success, and is now ready for expansion and growth.

The Core TEA team: Comprised of members from the Baycrest Innovation Office (BIO), Education Services, Volunteer Services, Library Services and Baycrest@Home, the core team created, delivered, and analyzed feedback.

The Pre-Launch Group (PLG): Comprised of Baycrest’s older adult volunteers and Client and Family Partners (CFP's), the PLG met weekly with the core team to review the content and delivery of TEA to improve the experience for older adults.

The TEA Advisory Group (TAG): Comprised of Baycrest’s scientists and clinicians, TAG informed TEA delivery from an educational and behavioural lens.

Quality Coach: Throughout the creation and delivery of TEA, Baycrest’s Patient, Family and Consumer Education Manager acted as the quality coach to improve TEA from an educator’s lens.

Technology Support Volunteers (TSV): Comprised of tech-savvy volunteers, at least one TSV attended each session to help participants troubleshoot technology issues and demonstrate how to use their device.

Learning Support Coordinator (LSC): The LSC was the one point of contact for all of the TEA participants and TSV’s. They coordinated the TSV's schedules and facilitated each tutorial session as well.

Feedback Coordinator (FC): The FC also gathered crucial feedback from the participants so that we could improve or pivot our delivery of TEA.

In the end, over 80% of participants found the classes and tutorials very helpful, and attended tutorials at least once per week. Over 75% felt more confident about some of the topics and skills covered during TEA. 100% found the volunteers’ support very helpful and 100% appreciated our support in helping them register for the COVID-19 vaccine as the registration process was entirely digital. Lastly, we received a net promoter score of 97.5%.

Currently, TEA participants meet regularly via Zoom as part of their self-coordinated TEA Alumni Group. The TEA program is also in the process of being adopted by various Ontario Health Team partners. Given that TEA was made to scale, we found that that the program works best when accompanied by additional resources and supports currently available at Baycrest, such as volunteer tech support, one-on-one resident tech support, older adult-friendly devices, etc.

“Thank you for the inspiration and motivation to do this and continue to do this [use the internet to enhance daily life].” - TEA Participant

Have questions about the TEA program, want to know if it could benefit more members of our community, or want to give us feedback? We'd love to hear from you!

About Baycrest

Baycrest is a global leader in aging and brain health with a vision of a world where, with your help, we can all Fear No AgeTM.

Baycrest is an academic health sciences centre fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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