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USD project aims to combat isolation with iPads for elderly

VERMILLION — Eleven University of South Dakota occupational therapy students, one USD social work student and six older adult volunteers are working with older adults to teach them everything from how to use an iPad to posting photos on Facebook.

Students and faculty from the USD School of Health Sciences are collaborating with The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society and Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) to help older adults combat social isolation through the AARP Foundation’s Connecting to Community pilot program.

“Social isolation is quite prevalent and debilitating in older adults,” explained Jarod T. Giger, assistant professor, USD Department of Social Work. “I think the model we are using in the Connecting to Community program could also be applied to other at-risk populations that suffer from social isolation, including older adult veterans and older adult caregivers. The possibilities are limitless.”

OATS, an organization that provides technology training services to seniors, wrote the curriculum that the volunteer instructors are using to teach the older adult participants.

— Source: University of South Dakota