Posted on August 10, 2023 by Amanda Cerreto

Older Adults at graduation

Older Adults at graduation

More than 160 seniors ages 60 and up will graduate this week from a unique local program that’s helped them get familiar with technology.

Sarah Ullevig, an associate professor in the UTSA Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, led a program to increase access to and understanding of technology among San Antonio’s older adult population. Working alongside the City of San Antonio’s Department of Human Services and Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) by AARP, Ullevig and her team provided tablets, Internet access, tech support and a five-week technology training course at senior centers across San Antonio.

Following the technology course, the UTSA team administered a 15-week digital nutrition intervention that they developed specifically for seniors. This nutrition course was entirely online, starting in April 2023 and ending in August.

More than 160 seniors graduated from the Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) program this week.

“By teaching older adults about technology and nutrition, we are providing a new way for them to improve their health.”

The first cohort of older adults in the digital nutrition program will graduate this week, in a series of ceremonies across San Antonio senior centers. The ceremonies will be held in both English and Spanish.

“The program focuses on access to technology and nutrition, but a significant strength is the support of socio-emotional needs,” said Ullevig. “By teaching older adults about technology and nutrition, we are providing a new way for them to use technology to improve their health while providing a platform to socialize with their peers and connect them to the online world.”

Graduates of the digital nutrition program proudly show off their certificates during the ceremony.

Read more about the Digital Nutrition Program.

The program was funded by a three-year, $1.18 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to address older adults’ challenges to access health care, which was exacerbated by the pandemic. The NIH funded the distribution of tablets, a five-week technology training course, and the 15-week online nutrition intervention for older adults at 12 senior centers across the city.

Ullevig’s co-investigators include Erica Sosa, associate dean for research and associate professor in HCAP’s Department of Public Health; public health professors Meizi He and Zenong Yin; and Tianou Zhang, assistant professor in the College for Health, Community and Policy.

This project is supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health under award number: R01NR020303. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

— Amanda Cerreto