(Dublin, OH) As part of its ongoing Aging in Place initiative, the City of Dublin successfully launched a pilot program pairing older adults with volunteers to better understand technology.
The Alexa Pilot Program supplied a group of older adults with Amazon Echo devices, and paired them with volunteers to help implement and troubleshoot the devices over a nine-month pilot period. The City partnered with local counseling center Syntero to identify willing participants.
After introductory discussions on how voice assisted devices could help older adults, volunteers were matched with a fellow resident, met them in their home, set up the devices, and trained their new senior friend on its use.
“Alexa? Play Chopin.” This was the first known request of the pilot project, which ran from June through December, 2018. Through follow-up interviews, seniors reported:
- Frequent usage daily/several times per day (70%)
- Appreciation for the outreach of their fellow residents (100%)
- Utilizing the device for daily planning/schedules/reminders (70%), news and weather (70%), memory games (50%), entertainment/reading/music (90%), and searching for information (50%)
For volunteers, results were equally positive:
- 100% said the project made them feel great about helping a fellow resident
- 100% said it made them feel great about their community
“The whole experience has been so moving,” said Stephanie Jursek, Syntero’s Older Adult Specialist. “It has empowered them. They now use technology that the millennial generation uses. It connects them and makes them feel relevant.”
The pilot program is being assessed for wider release to the community.
About Aging in Place
In early 2018 the City of Dublin launched its first Aging in Place Plan. Reviewed by the Community Services Advisory Commission and accepted by Dublin City Council, the City’s Aging in Place Plan is a strategic priority of City Council in planning for the future. The plan involves many aspects and future concepts, including mobility and transportation, housing, health and wellness.
For more information and to view the City’s Aging in Place Plan, visit dublinohiousa.gov/living/aging-in-place.
Sarah McQuaide, Public Information Officer
614.410.4523 – Desk
614.593.9438 – Cell