The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, College of Education and Human Development has been awarded a $672,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Aging to its TechOWL program.
TechOWL, Pennsylvania's Assistive Technology Act program, will use the funds to purchase hundreds of iPads, laptops and other devices to facilitate communication for older Pennsylvanians across the Commonwealth.
Communication restrictions during the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent quarantining has hit the aging population especially hard, according to Kim Singleton, TechOWL director. "These devices are designed to assist older people in touching base with family and friends, keeping up-to-date on news and events, and perhaps most important, attending telehealth visits."
The devices will be added to TechOWL's Assistive Technology (AT) Lending Library, which already features hundreds of items available for short-term loan to Pennsylvanians with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians. TechOWL staff will provide targeted and robust assistance designed especially for seniors who borrow these devices. "We will work with borrowers to load the software or apps that they need." For example, if someone has a doctor who uses "Blue Jeans" to conduct telehealth visits, TechOWL will ensure that the specific app is loaded onto the device.
A big part of the project will be offering support to those using the devices. "The TechOWL staff will be sharing the responsibility of helping each and every borrower. We want to be sure that older Pennsylvanians get what they need and that they are able to use it!"
More information about the AT Lending Library can be found at TechOWL's website. Questions can also be sent via email, TechOWL@temple.edu or telephone, 800-204-7428.
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