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Tech Serving Seniors in Rural Communities


There is a growing conversation in the U.S. as the population continues to grow older and the demand to deliver services to people in communities outside major metropolitan areas increases. Recent studies equate the detrimental health impacts of isolation to smoking. More accessible transportation could combat this social isolation, a major concern for many seniors.

The CTA Foundation recently participated in a session called “Beyond Here and There: Transforming Mobility in Rural America through New Technology” co-hosted by Grantmakers in Aging and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS). The panel looked at various solutions for serving the aging populations in rural communities that encompass 97 percent of the U.S. land mass but whose residents represent less than 20 percent of the population. This meeting brought together  representatives from philanthropy, transportation providers and technology companies to discuss the role of each in serving the needs of older adults across the country.

The conference discussed solutions including ride sharing, self-driving vehicles, ondemand delivery and telemedicine. As a lead up to the conference, the CTA Foundation supported the development of two reports.

The first detailed how funders can engage in this space. The other is a white paper examining rural transportation across a longer timeline. These papers laid the groundwork for the conference discussion, some of which were captured in an article by Next Avenue which highlighted solutions ranging from Freedom Express – which provides free rides in Wickenburg, AZ – to a partnership with Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Needles, CA to provide affordable access to shared vehicles.

Communities are looking to find innovative ways to meet the needs of their populations of all ages and abilities. If you are interested in connecting with these communities or foundations working on these issues, please contact Steve Ewell at the CTA Foundation, SEwell@CTA.tech, to discuss potential partnership opportunities.

 

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Anthony Maestri

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