Embrace Living Receives $10,000 Grant to Increase Technology Education at DuPage Communities

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Jennifer Truppa, director of social services and quality assurance, receiving DuPage award.

Last month, our grant application to the DuPage Foundation’s Community Needs Grant Program was approved, giving us $10,000 to use toward technology education for our residents. We would also like to thank the Beth and Daniel Maguire Family Fund, Pane E Pesci Fund and an anonymous donor advised fund of the DuPage Foundation for their generous support in this effort.

The DuPage Foundation was established in 1986 to provide support to local nonprofits concerned with raising the quality of life in the area. With four communities in DuPage County, our plans to expand technology education to the 350 residents living in those communities will do just that, increasing their technological literacy and ability to connect virtually with others.

Why is this grant important right now?

Many older adults are experiencing stress and are at risk for isolation and loneliness. A recent study conducted by the AARP Foundation in collaboration with United Health Foundation found that of older adults who have experienced social isolation since the pandemic began, half reported feeling less motivated, four in ten (41%) reported feeling more anxious than usual and more than a third (37%) felt depressed. Using evidence-based assessments, 27% of our residents in DuPage County are at-risk of social isolation and loneliness. Technology allows for increased connection between residents and their friends and families, which can help alleviate these feelings.

Also, access to in-person medical care has in many cases been replaced with tele-health appointments, a difficult switch for older adults with limited connectivity and technology skills. 

How will we use the grant money?

1. iPads

We recently renovated two of our communities in DuPage County to include computer training labs, which contain two or three desktop computers, internet capabilities, printers and printing supplies. We also provide ongoing maintenance of that equipment. We want to expand that access by purchasing tablets for all four DuPage County communities that residents can use, along with providing culturally and linguistically-appropriate monthly training services for residents. This will not only include training on communal technology but also residents’ in-home technology to enhance their well-being and connectedness.

2. Intergenerational training

Not only will we provide devices for residents to use, but we will also match younger adult volunteers with our residents to train them on how to use that technology, along with residents’ personal technology devices, to promote greater self-confidence during use. Also, apart from that primary benefit, intergenerational programs have been shown to be valuable for both younger and older generations as both are able to share knowledge and foster a sense of meaningfulness, while helping to decrease feelings of social isolation through new learning experiences among others. This grant will help us grow this volunteer program.

3. Build connections in and out of our communities 

Our residents deserve to feel connected and comfortable when it comes to technology. By providing them with the tools and training they need to be competent, we’re giving them the opportunity to do things such as stay connected with family and friends outside their community, find valuable health resources online to help with chronic conditions, attend tele-health appointments with ease and access a constant stream of entertainment via devices like smart TVs and tablets. 

We’re excited for all this grant will enable us to do for our residents in DuPage County, and we will continue to seek ways to expand technology education at all of our communities.

To learn more about some of the other services we provide our residents, visit: https://embraceliving.org/social-services-coordination-program/ 

To learn more about the DuPage Foundation, visit: https://dupagefoundation.org/ 

Support provided by DuPage Foundation.