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ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY, Ala.—A national survey by AARP reported 51 percent of older adults purchased a new digital device in the past year. However, only one in six used these devices to video chat on platforms, such as Skype and Zoom. To close the digital gap, Alabama Extension at Alabama A&M offers free Zoom training.

This course is targeted toward older adults who are among the most vulnerable to contract COVID-19. Attendees learn the main features of Zoom. For instance, how to host meetings, launch polls, share screens, create registrations, and utilize breakout rooms. Zoom allows seniors to connect to the outside world while social distancing.

Training Outcomes

“I enjoy hearing back from seniors who now use Zoom, “said Extension specialist and instructor Dorothy Brandon. “They are so happy to be able to use the service in their daily lives and to reconnect with loved ones.”

For instance, Gloria Batts uses Zoom to conduct voter registration sessions and ministry work, as well as to meet with business consultants.

“Do not be intimated by Zoom – there is room for Zoom in your life as a senior,” Batts said.

Making Connections

Zoom is also a great tool to help prevent social isolation and loneliness among seniors. This was the case with Extension Associate Director, Celvia Stovall, whose family enjoys using Zoom. With Brandon’s help, Stovall conducted a Zoom session to celebrate her mother’s 84th birthday. Brandon also taught Stovall’s 80-year-old aunt in Ohio how to connect to Zoom.

Stovall’s mother hopes to connect with family for Thanksgiving and made a request.

“For Thanksgiving can you set up the device where there were pictures of everyone and they could talk to each other?” her mother asked.

Stovall said “yes ma’am we will make it happen.”

Future Training

For future Zoom training sessions, contact Dorothy Brandon, family and consumer specialist, at (256) 372-5456 or dpb0010@aces.edu. You can also visit the Alabama Extension calendar for a listing of other online programs being offered.

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