OATS Launches Country’s First Technology-Themed Community Center for Older Adults

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Industry-Renowned Panel to Discuss Technology Access for Nation’s Older Adults

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The Senior Planet Exploration Center is the first facility of its kind. It will serve as a prototype for the kind of infrastructure needed to increase technology adoption among older adults across the country.

Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), a New York-based nonprofit that provides free technology education to older adults, announces the grand opening of its Senior Planet Exploration Center on March 7, at 5:00 p.m. EST.

This is the country’s first — and only — technology-focused community center for those aged 60 and older.

The center is the product of a public-private partnership between OATS, the federal government, the City of New York and corporate sponsors. The 2,700-square-foot facility features a state-of-the-art computer lab with 23 high-end workstations, a studio for tablet and smartphone training, video conferencing pods, a video gaming area and an open space for curated exhibitions, presentations and classes.

“Our city’s growing technology industry benefits New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “I congratulate OATS on the opening of its Senior Planet Exploration Center that will provide seniors with new ways to stay connected and enhance their quality of life. By supporting dynamic and innovative opportunities for our older New Yorkers, we continue to make New York City the most age-friendly city in the country.”

“Technology offers profound benefits for older adults. They can finally take control of their health care, easily access benefits information online, remain competitive at work and stay connected through social media or other forms of digital communication,” said Tom Kamber, executive director of OATS. “The Senior Planet Exploration Center is the first facility of its kind. It will serve as a prototype for the kind of infrastructure needed to increase technology adoption among older adults across the country.”

The official ribbon cutting ceremony will feature representatives from the City of New York, the federal government and corporate partners.

During the launch, OATS will host an industry panel on the topic “Closing the Technology Gap for Older Adults,” which will be attended by city officials, corporate sponsors, aging experts and seniors themselves. The panelists will include:

  •     Judith Graham, contributing writer, The New York Times (via Google+ Hangout)
  •     Walter Woods, vice president, AARP Foundation
  •     Cathleen Sims DeVito, director of government relations, Time Warner Cable
  •     Neil Harrison, senior director, Sony Corporation of America
  •     Deirdre Flynn, executive director, New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication (DoITT)

Throughout the panel discussion, tech-savvy seniors who graduated from OATS programs will facilitate a Twitter conversation and live webcast. The Twitter hashtag #SeniorPlanet will be used throughout the event.

The Senior Planet Exploration Center will offer a wide range of technologies, training courses, programs and events to more than 10,000 seniors each year. In addition to the center, OATS also provides access to technology and information for older adults through SeniorPlanet.org, a website specifically designed for those 60-plus, as well as 23 technology training facilities and a mobile lab.

OATS and its programs are made possible through a combination of federal and local government funding, philanthropic and corporate sponsorship. Support has been received from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), the City of New York’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) and Department for the Aging (DFTA), The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and corporate sponsors such as Macquarie Group, Time Warner Cable, Sony Corporation of America and Arent Fox.

OATS will live stream the panel, which is set to start at 6:15 p.m. To view the event in real time, please go to http://www.seniorplanet.org/live.

The Senior Exploration Center is located at 127 West 25th Street in Manhattan and is open to public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday.

For more information about the Senior Planet Exploration Center, please see the fact sheet.

About Older Adults Technology Services (OATS)
OATS is a New York-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that harnesses the power of technology to change the way we age. Since 2004, OATS has delivered more than 13,000 free technology training classes to older adults through more than 70 partner locations in New York City.
http://www.oats.org

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Nina Dunn
Spector & Associates for OATS
(212) 943-5858
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