Technology and its applications have changed the way we live and interact with the world around us. Too many older Canadians have been left out of the digital revolution and are excluded from accessing essential services that improve the quality of life of everyone in our society.

Let’s Connect provides digital education, learning resources, technological devices, data plans, and support to community-based seniors’ services organizations to improve older Canadians’ ability to navigate our ever-changing, connected world.

More than two million older Canadians have an annual income of less than $19,000. Communication devices and internet services cost on average $1,000 in Canada. This cost barrier means that only 54% of older people have the means to participate as digital citizens. As the digitization of our society increases, it will further exclude older persons.”

    Having access to technology and the skills, knowledge, and confidence to use it as an older person means:

    • Staying socially connected with family and friends by video chat, text messages, or email
    • Being informed about local, national, and global affairs
    • Having online learning opportunities no matter the physical location
    • Managing health and well-being with more autonomy
    • Carrying out daily activities to improve quality of life like ordering medication online or downloading library books from home

    HelpAge Canada’s Let’s Connect program supports nationwide, regional, and local initiatives that go a long way at improving access to technology and connecting older Canadians to their communities of support.

    Whether it is connecting to Wi-Fi, using a touch screen, accessing email, or uniting Inuit values with digital literacy, older people are improving their quality of life at home and in the community through Let’s Connect initiatives.

      Hear from DIG-IT participants

      “I had such a positive experience with the program; would highly recommend this program to others.”

      Mitch, DIG-IT participant, Norwest Community Health Centres, Thunder Bay, ON

      “I am thankful for the program; I learned a lot and I’m using my tablet to continue to grow, connect and learn.”

      Chris, DIG-IT participant, Norwest Community Health Centres, Thunder Bay, ON

      Getting connected is essential to being able to thrive! 

      HelpAge Canada’s Let’s Connect program positively impacts the lives of older Canadians. To date, Let’s Connect has resulted in:

      • Over 800 older Canadians with digital access & technical support
      • Virtual programming in 29 British Columbia communities, reaching thousands of seniors
      • 390 Elders in 8 Nunavut communities building digital skills by connecting with local youth

      Let’s Connect is a program that HelpAge Canada has been created to offer community-based seniors’ services organizations with the needed framework and support to deliver effective digital literacy programs to Canada’s aging population no matter where they are located.

      “It was clear that many of the elders that participated are, or easily could be, isolated in their homes and this use of technology offers them opportunity to participate in the outside world.”

      Robynn Pavia, Delivery Lead, Pinnguaq Association, Iqaluit, Nunavut

      “I’ve seen older people go from a place of uncertainty in their ability to figure out the ‘tech stuff’ to becoming confident in tackling whatever challenges they face”

      Dawn, program volunteer at A&O: Support Services for Older Adults, Winnipeg, MB

      “It’s important for people to maintain their independence and stay connected as they age, and digital technology has such an important role to play,”

      Kahir Lalji, Provincial Director of Government Relations & Programs at United Way Healthy Aging, Burnaby, BC

      “Truly, one of the most engaging and enjoyable experiences I’ve had”

      Martin, participant learning digital skills at A&O: Support Services for Older Adults, Winnipeg, MB

      Benefits for partners

      Our digital literacy program also offers partners translated and printed material, communications assets to facilitate the sharing of success stories, and even the option of purchasing needed IT resources as a group to save on costs.

      Let’s Connect benefits local organizations by:

      • Reducing the burden of program design and development
      • Providing expert recommendations on device and data plan selection
      • Sourcing the specialized resources needed to roll out a local service in your community
      • Building your organization’s capacity to provide rich programing
      • Providing volunteer training via well-developed educational modules offered online
      • Evaluating areas of success and identifying where improvements can be made
      • Offering a community of practice that allows for collaboration, education, and a space to exchange and reflect on best practices together

      The story of Let’s Connect

      HelpAge saw the extreme isolation older people were experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and we decided to act. We premiered a digital literacy program to highlight the power of technology as a force to bridge the gap between older adults and their communities. We identified information and communication technologies like tablets and smartphones as tools to combat the heightened sense of isolation among older adults, but we also recognized that many individuals do not have access to the essential digital literacy skills needed to make use of these devices.

      Since the program’s launch, we have discovered that learning styles, strengths, and levels of experience vary from individual-to-individual and between communities. So, we transformed Let’s Connect into an umbrella of adaptable initiatives that give community-based seniors’ services organizations the funding and resources needed to implement digital literacy programs that meet the unique needs they have identified within their own communities.

        In the beginning, 20 communities benefited from the program. Today, we have brought Let’s Connect to over 40 delivery partner organizations across Canada!

          Take a look at the types of digital literacy initiatives we currently offer community-based seniors services organizations

          Responding to the digital literacy needs of older people living with financial insecurity

          Connecting Nunavut communities through digital skill building and traditional knowledge sharing

          Application Process for Community-Based Seniors’ Services Organizations:

          Applications are now closed for 2023. If you are a community-based seniors’ services organization and interested in applying to participate in a digital literacy initiative in 2023, please sign up for our partner newsletter to receive the latest updates.

          Let’s Connect supports older people in your community & opens the digital door towards aging with dignity!

          HelpAge Canada wants to see more than 100,000 older Canadians benefit from our program by 2030. By providing community-based senior service organizations a digital literacy framework that can be customized to the individual community needs, we recognize Canada’s diversity and strengthen the important cultural practices within those communities.

          Let’s Connect initiatives are offered across the country thanks to the support of our Founding Program Partner, delivery partners, HelpAge Canada donors.

          Support Us

          We appreciate the support of our generous donors in helping us create a world in which all older persons lead secure, healthy, active and dignified lived.