Many seniors feel comfortable texting, tweeting, and surfing the internet. But for those who don’t, taking the time to learn a new skill often feels daunting, Mr. Kamber said. Senior Technology Services, he said, has taught 48,000 people how to get started online since the pandemic started, and runs a tech support hotline. When the vaccine started, the staff on the phone answered thousands of questions about how to schedule an appointment.
Regional Aging Agencies, part of a federal government-funded national network of seniors and overseen by the Community Life Administration, are also helping. Sandy Markwood, executive director of Regional Agencies, which includes more than 600 state government-led regional centers, said local guilds were calling on seniors and helping them post. sign vaccination appointments over the phone or in person.
In Akron, Ohio, 78-year-old Lee Freund said every hospital, pharmacy, and grocery store she called looking for vaccines directed her to a series of confusing websites. Miss Freund accidentally signed up for groceries, but was out of luck. Finally she shed tears.
“When you are alone, it’s frustrating, it’s overwhelming and it’s emotional,” said Freund, her husband who passed away last year. She said she did not call her children for help because she did not want to be a burden. “It almost made me think, ‘I don’t think this is worth it.’
Ms Freund finally got help with the nearby Area Agency on Aging, where a woman secured her an appointment.
At the end of last week, only 12.3 million Americans aged 75 and over, or 28%, had received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Sen. Tina Smith, Minnesota’s Democrat, who reintroduced a bill from last year that would allocate money to help older Americans online, said the government was unable to weather a crisis. can be prevented by not funding higher level institutions sooner.
Elderly networking organizations “have been overwhelmed by the needs and requirements they have and are struggling to weather the pandemic,” Ms. Smith said in an interview. “We have limited resources for this, and we are seeing the effects of it.”