SOARR stands for Supporting Older Adults through Relationships and Resources. It is a project initiated by the Center for Inclusive Design and Engineering (CIDE) to reduce social isolation and loneliness through the application of technology.
We aim to provide coaching, training, and materials to tech-savvy, older adult 'tech mentors' who will then offer peer-to-peer support to older adults in Colorado.
We hope to help older adults feel more connected and confident in a technology-dependent world.
This program is built as a volunteer training opportunity to help older adults in our communities become more connected.
Although the information provided can be transferred to other areas, it is not designed as a professional development program.
If you are not planning to volunteer as a tech mentor, this training is not for you.
Tech mentor volunteers must be tech-savvy individuals who want to teach older adults to use technology.
Tech mentors should be able to communicate clearly and with empathy.
They should be willing to participate in approximately five hours of training, regularly attend monthly tech mentor meetings, and consistently support older adult mentees.
Mentees are older adults in your community interested in learning to use technology.
No minimum or maximum skill set is required to become a mentee; tech mentors may help older adults with basic skills (powering on a device, navigating a home screen) to more advanced tasks such as accessing telehealth services or using Zoom.
Volunteers should expect between 4 and 5 hours of live training. Resources to support this training include handouts, access to self-paced practice scenarios, and ongoing support from CIDE experts and the larger tech mentor community.
The tech mentor training series is accessible both virtually and in-person (by request). All sessions will be held over Zoom, and all the resources will be accessible electronically.
Tech mentors must attend an initial 4-5 hour training.
Following this initial training event, tech mentors are invited to attend a monthly Zoom meeting with tech mentors from across the state.
This meeting aims to answer questions, support one another, and stay up to date on tech trends that may affect older adults in our communities.
While we hope you will participate in the entire training, we understand schedules don’t always align.
If you can’t make it to one or more sessions, you may watch the recordings. Recordings will be made available as soon as possible after the live event.
As a tech mentor, you will be trained on topics such as forming effective mentor/mentee relationships, teaching essential tech skills, and utilizing accessibility tools for older adults with physical or cognitive disabilities.
When initial training is complete, you are invited and encouraged to attend monthly mentor meetings to gain insights from one another.
Meet with your mentee in person (in a public place) or virtually. Help your mentee set a tech-related goal. Use tech mentor resources and training to help your mentee accomplish their goal. Encourage independence. Connect your mentee with resources if necessary.
Many potential tech mentors already know someone who can benefit from tech mentoring. Alternatively, when a mentee reaches out to Project SOARR, we will try to pair them with a mentor who is willing to mentor an older adult they don’t already know.
Tech mentors will not receive enough training to make expert recommendations regarding assistive technology. If a mentee has an accessibility concern, the mentor should refer the mentee to experts at CIDE or to primary care providers. Mentors should also avoid making recommendations for mentees to make significant purchases.
Email CIDE@UCDENVER.EDU with the subject line "Project SOARR - Mentee Interest" or call the Center for Inclusive Design and Engineering at 303-315-1280.