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Blog Posts by Diana Coho

How Older Americans Can Stay Safe, Stay Healthy and Stay Connected

by Diana Coho, Consumer Affairs and Outreach Division
May 19, 2014 - 01:14 PM

Why are many older Americans still hesitant to buy mobile phones, tablets or other devices, access the Internet or become broadband adopters? According to recent studies, many seniors say they shy away from using new devices because they are not sure how to use them or have trouble seeing the display, using the touch screens, hearing the prompts or learning the appropriate commands. Some are afraid to ask for help or simply don’t know where to get the help they need. 

A recent Pew study shows 77 percent of seniors are willing to learn how to use tablets and smartphones, but indicated they would need some assistance.  

To raise awareness of the benefits of broadband-enabled communications technology and to help facilitate its use, the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau is hosting a special event from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday, May 22, 2014, in recognition of Older Americans Month. Presentations and demonstrations will show older Americans, their families and caregivers how they can Stay Safe, Stay Healthy and Stay Connected.

The FCC event will highlight new programs, phone apps, government websites, and discuss how to harness these new resources to maximize access and facilitate healthy, connected living from home. The program will feature consumer information about:

  • staying safe online
  • text alerts
  • communicating during emergencies
  • technologies for people with disabilities
  • aging in place
  • telemedicine
  • digital literacy
  • remote access to loved ones and health care providers

Presenters include FCC experts as well as representatives from other agencies, nonprofits, academia and the private sector.

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Celebrating Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month – Honoring our Partners and Building New Bridges For Collaboration and Outreach

by Diana Coho, Consumer Affairs and Outreach Specialist, Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau
May 20, 2013 - 02:00 PM

In June 1977, a House resolution called upon the president to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. Over time, additional resolutions passed and in 1992, the official designation of May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month was signed into law. This year’s theme is: BUILDING LEADERSHIP: EMBRACE THE CULTURAL VALUES AND INCLUSION.  Click on the link below to see this year’s White House proclamation on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/04/30/presidential-proclamation-asian-american-and-pacific-islander-heritage-m.

The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau works to build dynamic partnerships with the Asian American community. To that end, we have begun plans for an interactive dialogue among Asian American leaders with FCC leaders and subject matter experts to address stakeholder concerns and provide technical assistance.  This event will be announced and held sometime in the next few months – stay tuned to our website as more details are posted.  We also plan to expand our Asian American outreach to the Asian owned business community, another rapidly growing segment of the U.S. population that continues to contribute greatly to our economy.

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FCC Reaches Out to Local Seniors Committed to Lifelong Learning

by Diana Coho, Consumer Affairs and Outreach Specialist
February 21, 2013 - 08:33 AM

The Consumer Affairs and Outreach Division of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau serves as the FCC’s face with the American public.  One of my recent outreach assignments was to deliver a presentation to the monthly forum of the Lifetime Learning Institute (LLI) of Northern Virginia, which provides continuing education opportunities to older Americans at the Annandale Campus of the Northern Virginia Community College.

Older Americans are an important group for the FCC to reach since we believe that access to high-speed Internet service – broadband – can improve the quality of life for all Americans.  But many of the older Americans we routinely interact with are less likely than the rest of the country to subscribe to broadband, own a computer, or have the skills that are needed to use the Internet – commonly referred to as “digital literacy” skills.  In addition, we find that many older Americans don’t believe the Internet is relevant to their daily lives and are concerned about taking on new expenses when living on low or fixed incomes.  Vision and hearing loss or other challenges can make it difficult for older Americans to use a computer, and adaptive technologies pose a  steeper learning curve.  Many older Americans are also concerned about possible fraud and identity theft in cyberspace.

But research shows that once older Americans learn how to use the Internet, they quickly begin using email, going online to do research, make appointments, shop, take courses, manage bank accounts and electronic medical records, and communicate with friends and family – increasingly through social media sites and techniques.  Older Americans are also buying more cell phones, using e-readers and tablets, and adapting to advances in telemedicine.  I was heartened to find out that the Annadale group was very tech savvy!

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