Community Bridges Bridging the Digital Divide for Older Adults

Santa Cruz County, CA — Community Bridges is addressing the digital divide of older adults by providing FREE Amazon Fire tablets to qualifying Santa Cruz and North Monterey County applicants across the agency’s older adultserving programs, including our Family Resource Collective, Elderday Adult Day Health Care and Lift Line transportation. 

Low-income applicants age 55 and over who haven’t already received a FREE tablet from Community Bridges are eligible to receive one today by doing one of the following: 

  • Signing up for Elderday Adult Day Health Care (for adults with dementia or complex medical problems; program is free for those eligible for Medi-Cal) 

  • Enrolling with Lift Line and downloading their free self-service mobile app to schedule medical and dental rides, social services connection, and essential rides. 

  • Receiving, or have received, a COVID-19 vaccination or booster at clinics coordinated by our Family Resource Collective 

As the world made an abbreviated virtual shift during the COVID-19 Pandemic, low-income older adults were one of many communities across the United States that were left behind in social isolationwith deleterious effects on their well-beingIt’s estimated that nearly 1 in 4 adults 65 and over are considered socially isolatedSocial isolation increases the chance of premature death and rivals the health risks of smoking, obesity, and inactivity, and the Center for Disease Control describes loneliness and social isolation as “serious public health risks.” 

Over the past two years, Community Bridges has addressed the digital divide by helping to establish the Senior Center Without Limits and distributing more than 350 tablets to qualifying older adults across Santa Cruz County in partnership with the County of Santa Cruz, and cities of Watsonville and Santa Cruz. Now, Community Bridges is able to offer tablets to even more older adults who are at risk of loneliness and social isolation.  

In addition to offering the FREE tablet, Elderday, Lift Line, and the Family Resource Collective all provide a lifeline to older adults and support their independencedignity, and physical and mental well-being.  

As we continue to move toward a more digitized world, it is critical that we ensure we don’t leave older adults behind in the process and we work toward targeted and coordinated opportunities such as this to bring the connection of the digital world a little closer to home for most older adults, says CEO Raymon Cancino.  

Along with keeping our older adults connected, Community Bridges has helped keep them protected by offering COVID-19 vaccinations at clinics organized by our Family Resource Collective across the county. To date, more than 1,100 vaccinations have been administered at our FRC sites.  

To schedule a vaccination appointment at an upcoming clinic, call the Community Bridges Vaccine Helpline at (831) 219-8607. 

For more information about receiving a FREE Amazon Fire tablet, call our Digital Access Helpline at ‪(831) 471-7197.  

The project was made possible by the generous support of the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County.

About Elderday 

Elderday is an adult day health care center that allows older adults and people with disabilities to live at home with independence and dignity. At Elderday, participants benefit from nursing care, physical and occupational therapies, referral to resources, therapeutic activities, healthy meals and access to onsite mental health and nutrition services. Week-day hours make it possible for participants to stay independent and in their own homes for as long as possible, while offering family members and caregivers well-deserved respite. Elderday is free for those eligible for Medi-Cal. Costs can also be covered by the Veteran’s Administration, long-term care insurance, or private pay on a sliding scale. Transportation to the center is also provided.

About Lift Line 

Providing 60,000 door-to-door rides a year to seniors and people with disabilities; allowing these Central Coast residents to maintain their health and independence. Lift Line is part of the Community Bridges family of programs.

About FRC 

Community Bridges Family Resource Collective has four locations to meet the needs of Santa Cruz County residents. Our centers in Santa Cruz, Felton, Live Oak and Watsonville create a safety net of services to meet individual and household needs. Our compassionate staff build a warm, friendly, safe place for the community to access resources that offer stability and hope for the future.  

About Community Bridges 

Community Bridges envisions a thriving community where every person has the opportunity to unleash their full potential. Together, our family of programs delivers essential services, provides equitable access to resources, and advocates for health and dignity across every stage of life. To learn more, please visit www.communitybridges.org. 

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