affordable housing in southeastern colorado

Technology Opportunities Project Grant:
Lamar Housing Authority

Seniors join ranks of web surfers
by Hew Hallock, Lamar Daily News

LAMAR - The Internet in now readily available to seniors living at Strainhurst and Alamo Apartments through 18 new computers installed this week in the community rooms of the apartments.

The idea of providing senior citizens with Internet access to learn more about medicine and healthcare was the brainchild of Gina Broyles with local Internet service provider Colorado Mobile Inet (CMInet).

The Lamar Housing Authority partnered with CMInet, Lamar Community College, High Plains Health Clinic, and Prowers Medical Center's Home Health Care to develop the program that lets seniors get information about their illnesses or medications and communicate directly with local doctors, healthcare professionals, nurses, and faculty at Lamar Community College. They also have the opportunity to participate in special distance-learning programs.

Funding for the program came from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Opportunities Program and from in-kind contributions from the program partners. Total cost of the project is $413,048 with $201,611 coming from the grant.

Joe Matkowski, project director for the grant, said the major purpose of the program is to enable seniors to continue living independently longer by giving them a means through technology to stay mentally active and alert. It provides a social focus, too, for them to get out and talk with other people.

The new computers can also be used as a media resource and way for seniors to stay in touch with family members and friends by e-mail. Each senior will be given a free e-mail account.

The primary focus of the program in on Internet access, explained Matkowski, who has already identified several websites that are user-friendly and provide medical information. One of those is the famous Mayo Clinic.

LCC is providing instruction on how to use computers and the Internet beginning with the very basics of what a mouse is, how to use the keyboard, and just getting familiar with a computer.

Six residents of Strainhurst and Alamo will be trained as mentors to help other residents when instructors are not available.

Matkowski said the early response among residents could be divided into thirds; about a third are very eager to use the computers, a third is willing to give it a try, and a third aren't interested.

Lamar Housing Authority - 804 South Main Street - Lamar, Colorado - 81052 - phone 719.336.9511

lha: about lha | community | contact | health care | housing | privacy | Site Reports | TOP | home