Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging announces statewide partnership with GetSetUp to bridge the digital divide and combat social isolation

Published on Wednesday, November 30, 2022

PROVIDENCE, RI – As part of its digiAGE initiative, the Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging (OHA) today announced a partnership with GetSetUp, the largest and fastest-growing virtual social learning platform designed specifically for older adults, to help bridge the digital divide and combat social isolation for older adults in Rhode Island. The partnership provides live interactive classes on GetSetUp by older adults for older adults that are accessible at the click of a button.

Whether on a tablet in their own home or projected on a screen in a public library, older adults can utilize technology to learn technical skills or participate in enrichment-focused courses on healthy cooking, virtual travel, and more through GetSetUp. Digital Literacy has quickly become a necessity of healthy aging to help stay connected to critical services and one another. As an initiative of OHA’s digiAGE Collaborative, the office is sponsoring these online training opportunities for adults 55 and over. If an older adult needs to build technology skills they can learn, in a safe environment, how to effectively use their smartphones, laptops, or tablets to reach out to family and friends more easily, or meet with their doctors over telehealth through digital divide starter classes, including “Getting comfortable with your device – a cell phone, tablet, or laptop,” “Intro to Zoom,” and an orientation to using the GetSetUp site to find other classes.

GetSetUp’s custom-built video learning interface has been tailored to older adults of all tech levels. The platform offers support via phone and in all classes to assist learners with technology and includes a booking system complete with regular reminders and after-class notes. Rhode Island’s older adults can easily connect with a safe community of over 4.6 million peers globally. Learners can choose from a catalog of over 4,000 classes that shift weekly and are available around the clock. Classes promote digital literacy, socialization, health and wellness, and new learning experiences. Classes are available in multiple languages including Spanish, Mandarin, and Hindi.

“Through the Office of Healthy Aging’s digiAGE initiative we are working hard to bridge the digital divide by providing opportunities for older Rhode Islanders to learn and stay connected through technology,” said OHA Director Maria Cimini. “GetSetUp and the many partners who helped make this work possible recognize the importance of lifelong learning and support those opportunities for older adults who are looking to build new skills, have new experiences, and connect with their peers."

“The partnership announced today with GetSetUp will allow the Office of Health Aging to expand their digiAGE collaborative and, by offering services in multiple languages, our state can better meet the needs of all older Rhode Islanders,” said Executive Office of Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Ana Novais. “GetSetUp will not only help our older residents combat social isolation by providing another way to connect with friends and family, but it is also a tool to better meet their health needs - whether learning how to navigate telehealth appointments or taking courses on healthy aging.”

”The digiAGE initiative and this training program run in partnership with GetSetUp respond to new needs of our older adults and help ensure that they continue to be able to engage fully in our ever-changing economy and society,” said Secretary of Commerce Liz Tanner. “Commerce is committed to digital equity throughout our state for all our residents and we look forward to our continued partnership with the Office of Healthy Aging to ensure our older adults—both those who are still in the workforce and those who have retired—remain at the center of this effort.”

“We hear learner feedback daily about how technology is helping to connect older adults not only to friends and family but also to opportunities to learn and age healthier,” said Lawrence Kosick, President and Co-Founder of GetSetUp. “GetSetUp empowers older adults to utilize their technology devices in a safe environment that connects them with a vibrant community of peers that are passionate about similar topics. It's great to partner with Rhode Island to offer services that allow for equity and diversity which enables the almost 40% of their population who are older adults to live happy, healthy, and more connected lives.”

GetSetUp’s customized platform offers an interface for older adults to learn, create, and share their wisdom safely. The platform helps to address the social determinants of health by assuring older adults stay connected to the tools they need to thrive and age in place. In RI we encourage older adults to explore these courses from their homes and are excited to see how libraries, senior centers, and other community centers utilize GetSetUp to create opportunities for seniors to come together to learn as well.

“Here in the Ocean State, we are committed to making it so that our aging population does more than just live in Rhode Island, but that they are able to thrive here,” Governor Dan McKee said. “This partnership between the Office of Healthy Aging and GetSetUp is yet another available tool to ensure that Rhode Island’s seniors can live rich, fulfilling lives. The importance of ensuring our seniors stay connected was exacerbated by the pandemic, and I’m thankful that the skills older adults can learn through this partnership will offer our state’s older community the opportunity to comfortably socialize with family, friends, and loved ones with the click of a button.”

Classes are now available to Rhode Island residents aged 55+, you can access these services by visiting: www.getsetup.io/partner/ri.

About the digiAGE Collaborative

Rhode Island’s digiAGE Collaborative is comprised of a growing list of industry, government, academic, and community partners working together to bridge the digital divide for older adults through coordinated investments in smart devices, internet services, digital literacy training, and online content creation. For more information about the digiAGE Collaborative and Rhode Island’s efforts to promote digital equity, visit www.oha.ri.gov/digiAGE

About GetSetUp

GetSetUp is on a mission to help those over 55 learn new skills, connect with others and unlock new life experiences. The social learning platform helps over 4.6 million older adults in 160 countries stay mentally and physically fit, creates economic opportunities through jobs and reskilling, and provides a community where people find meaning and purpose by sharing their knowledge and passions and forming new connections. Classes are taught by older adults on a highly interactive, custom-built video platform where older adults can connect during and in between classes. Classes are taught in English, Spanish, Hindi, and Mandarin.

Learn more at https://www.getsetup.org


Nicole Arias