By Associated Press - Saturday, February 20, 2021

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging has awarded a total of $200,000 in grants to 10 organizations to help connect the state’s older residents with their families through modern technology.

The funded agencies will equip residents living in areas hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic with smart devices, internet services and related training to help them better access online resources, work and study remotely, and virtually connect with family and friends, the agency said in a statement Friday.

According to the Pew Research Center, an estimated 41% of Rhode Islanders age 65 and older are not broadband users, and more than 25% of older adults in the state are not online.

“The internet is a basic necessity today,” Director Rosamaria Amoros Jones said in a statement. “So much of how we manage our lives and connect with one another and to services is driven by technology now; yet inequities persist, with many older adults and families in lower-income neighborhoods lacking access to, or fluency in, digital tools.”

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