Press Release – Cyber-Seniors and AARP

For Immediate Release

September 19, 2016

Contact: Tess Finlay

Communications Director (416) 710-5075


Older Adults Stay Connected & Decrease Risk of Social Isolation

When Learning Tech From Student Volunteers


TORONTO, LOS ANGELES and WASHINGTON, DC – “Cyber-Seniors,” an award-winning documentary film that inspired an international campaign, is making a significant difference in the lives of young and old as youth mentors teach seniors about technology.

Over the past year, the Cyber-Seniors campaign has been studying the effect of its intergenerational tech program on social isolation among older adults and on the attitudes of young people about aging and volunteerism with local partners: Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington – Fort Branch (Washington, DC), University of Rhode Island (Kingston, RI), Volunteers for Community Impact (Orlando) and Wexford-Missaukee Career Technical Center/Cadillac Senior Center (Cadillac, MI). Findings from the study, which was supported by AARP Foundation, suggest that the Cyber-Seniors program has the potential to not only reduce social isolation, but also increase social engagement and interaction among older adults, while also positively affecting young people’s attitudes about older generations and the importance of community service.

Preliminary quantitative (e.g., paired t-tests) results show that older adult participants report higher social engagement scores (t=-15.35, p<.001) and improved social isolation scores (t=-7.94, p<.001) following program participation. Nearly all student mentors (85%-93%) report learning about helping others, gaining communication skills, and learning to be patient with others. Rich qualitative data shows that the program helps to break down negative generational stereotypes and reduces the generation gap, and that all generations particularly value the personal bonds and relationships that develop.

“Millions of adults 50 and older are living in a state of vulnerability because of social isolation, and technology can provide a way for them to stay connected to friends and family,” says AARP Foundation President Lisa Marsh Ryerson. “Technology can also give them access to valuable online resources and key information. By leveraging the digital savvy of a younger generation, we are enhancing the lives of older adults and helping to create meaningful relationships.”

Dr. Skye N. Leedahl, PhD, University of Rhode Island, who participated in the study, said: “At the University of Rhode Island, we have found great value in having Cyber-Seniors participation available for students in multiple departments across the campus and for older adults living in the community. Students are gaining communication skills, patience, and learning about helping others, and older adults are improving their technology skills and connections to the community.”

“Not only are people over the age of 65 the most under-represented demographic on social media, over 49 million North American adults still do not even use technology in their day-to-day lives. People under the age of 25, on the other hand, grew up in a digital world and use technology in multiple aspects of their lives. Pairing these two groups results in a myriad of benefits for both,” says Tess Finlay, Communications Director for Cyber-Seniors.

Cyber-Seniors is sustainable and transferable, and it is currently being implemented in locations across the globe. The organization estimates that over a thousand Cyber-Seniors programs have already been established in North America, with hundreds more in other areas of the world. Free resources can be downloaded off the campaign website and regularly scheduled webinars offer training for teenage mentors and best-practice tips for program managers.



More information about CYBER-SENIORS can be found at:


Follow CYBER-SENIORS on Facebook:

Follow CYBER-SENIORS on Twitter:

For more information on AARP Foundation:


About Cyber-Seniors

Building on the award-winning documentary “Cyber-Seniors” and the high school community service project that inspired it, Cyber-Seniors connects tech-savvy youth to older adults. Launched in 2015, the program has expanded worldwide to help older adults learn how to use technology while providing students valuable skills in teaching and communicating. The reverse mentoring model helps break down negative generational stereotypes and supports development of personal relationships. For more information on the Cyber-Seniors: Connecting Generations Campaign, visit:

The “Cyber-Seniors” documentary film was directed by Saffron Cassaday and released in 2014. This humorous and heartwarming film chronicles the extraordinary journey of a group of senior citizens as they discover the world of the Internet through the guidance of teenage mentors. With universal praise and broadcast in 17 countries, the film will premiere on PBS this fall.


About AARP Foundation

AARP Foundation works to ensure that low-income older adults have nutritious food, affordable housing, a steady income, and strong and sustaining bonds. We collaborate with individuals and organizations who share our commitment to innovation and our passion for problem-solving. Supported by vigorous legal advocacy, we create and advance effective solutions that help struggling older adults transform their lives. AARP Foundation is the affiliated charity of AARP.

Cyber-Seniors programs around the world

Here are a few events or programs happening around the world inspired by Cyber-Seniors:

  • Canton, New York: free computer classes for ages 60+ beginning September 20 
  • Colusa County, California: Library branches offering free classes to teens and seniors this fall 
  • Monash University, Victoria, Australia: Oct. 6: Cyber-Seniors screening

Thank you to everyone for being a Cyber-Seniors champion!

Grandparents Day Sunday, September 11

Sunday, September 11 is Grandparents Day. What makes your grandparent special? Tell us on Facebook by comment or video of your grandparent to be eligible to win a Cyber-Seniors prize package.

Youth Organizations and voices needed for Twitter Chat!

Do you work with an amazing group of youth or are a youth interested in/or a part of an Cyber-Seniors program? We want to hear from you! 

On September 28th at 3:30pm EST Cyber-Seniors will be hosting a Twitter Chat on Reverse Mentoring in celebration of our Fall Campaign kick-off. We’re looking for youth participants this year to lend their voices and insight into the conversation.

If you are interested in participating in this year’s Twitter Chat, please contact

Be sure to save the date and tune in on Twitter! More details to come.

National Assisted Living Week September 11-17

How will you be celebrating National Assisted Living Week September 11-17th ?

This September we have much to celebrate – Intergenerational Month, Grandparents Day on Sept. 11 and it’s National Assisted Living Week from Sept 11-17.

Whether you decide to participate in one or all three, sharing the Cyber-Seniors Documentary as part of your activities is an impactful and feel-good way to mark the occasion. You can watch our trailer here and give us a shout at to see if you’re eligible for a FREE screening!

Winner of 1st Cyber-Seniors gift package: Liz Kejick!

Congratulations to Liz Kejick of Hudson, Ontario, the 1st winner of our Cyber-Seniors gift package shown on Facebook.

Courtesy of our partners AARP Foundation (Mentor Up), Best Part Productions, and Que Publishing, Liz receives:

  • a computer tablet
  • how-to books
  • selfie stick
  • water bottle
  • ear buds/car adapter
  • Cyber-Seniors DVD

Keep liking our Facebook page to win your gift package!

Valuable new offers to help get your Cyber-Seniors program started

CVS OFFER for Seniors Services Organizations

Please contact us by August 8th, 2016!

SilverScript® Insurance Company, America’s largest stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan sponsor and part of the CVS Health family, is partnering with Cyber-Seniors to underwrite our educational events this fall at no charge. These events are specially designed to provide technology training for older adults in a two-session series that includes:

Event 1 – Cyber-Seniors Documentary Movie and Technology Lab

At this event, your residents will gather to view the Cyber-Seniors educational DVD and get a first-hand look at how seniors are embracing the internet and social media tools to stay engaged with family and friends, research products or track down information and  keep up with current events. This event can be held for residents, as well as their friends and family, and also provides the Retirement Residence with an opportunity to showcase the type of intergenerational events that are hosted at your Residence.

** Cyber-Seniors screening events will take place between Sept. 12 – Nov 11.

As part of this event, a SilverScript representative will work with you to connect with a local high school of your choice and set up a technology lab for your residents if this of interest to you. Hosting a tech lab after the screening is a great opportunity for student volunteers to earn community service hours while teaching seniors new skills. Cyber-Seniors will provide the teaching tools.

Event 2 – Medicare Part D Educational Event

A SilverScript representative will share an informative presentation with interested residents, addressing some of the most frequently asked questions about Medicare, coverage options and how to use the internet as a valuable resource for obtaining information.

**Medicare Part D events will take place two weeks following the screening event.

It’s an easy, fun and free opportunity! Cyber-Seniors will provide a host kit with instructions designed to make this event simple to create, plus the SilverScript representative will work with you to set up the details.


As a non-profit organization, Cyber-Seniors appreciates SilverScript’s sponsorship and their commitment to helping improve the health and well-being of America’s seniors. We look forward to your response by August 8th, 2016 and hope that you will take advantage of this timely learning opportunity to help your residents’ bridge the “digital divide” and stay connected online.



Grants to Start a Cyber-Seniors Program!

We are excited to announce that we will be awarding 20 organizations micro-grants to work with us in establish a Cyber-Seniors program and measure the impact it has on participants. Participants will also receive promotional swag and goodies! We are especially interested in partnering with Universities/Colleges, High Schools, Assisted Living Facilities, and Youth Organizations. Contact for more information on how to apply.


Request for participants in Focus Groups

We Want to Hear From You!

We kindly ask for your participation in one of our Focus Group Sessions (see below for dates) to help us better understand our supporters and members and provide quality resources and offerings in the future, including a curriculum model for high schools.

As Cyber-Seniors and its resource base continues to grow, we would like your feedback on the type of resources you are looking for from Cyber-Seniors, and how we can best provide those to you.

We are also interested in supporting organizations in their applications for grant funding. We know that many of you apply for local grants, and Cyber-Seniors would like to support you in this endeavour and understand how we can best provide this support. We have some ideas of our own that we would like to share as well.

Focus groups will be held on the following dates.

Tuesday, July 26 @ 1pm EST

Thursday, July 28 @ 1pm EST

Tuesday, August 2 @ 1pm EST

Thursday, August 4 @ 1pm EST

Tuesday, August 9 @ 1pm EST

Thursday, August 11 @ 1pm EST

Please contact Tess Finlay at specifying which date you would like to join and she will send along a calendar invite with the call-in details.

50% For Screening this Fall!

A big thank you to our partner “Best Part Productions” for supporting our campaign by offering a 50% discount on the Cyber-Seniors documentary 3-Disc Screening Package for any organization planning a public screen event this Fall. The package comes with a 2-year Public Performance License. Regularly priced at $325, this package will be offered through the duration of the campaign for $160!

The 3-Disc Package provides an option to screen either the Feature length (74mins) or Educational version (52mins) and it also comes with a Discussion and Activity Guide Companion Disc! Purchase of this package also enables access to other exclusive content and downloadable resources which can be used for subsequent screening events and/or educational forums. Contact to receive a discounted screening package now.

Best of the Week

Here’s a look at our top 4 social media posts for the week of June 27th to July 1st, 2016.

1)Ever wondered how the ‪#‎CyberSeniors‬ program began? Meet the founders, Kascha & Macaulee as they share about what inspired them!

2)Everyone is ‪#‎onlinedating‬ these days. No matter your
  age, we all have standards and this 70-year-old is 
  not taking any bull.
3)Is it possilbe to form a friendship when 70 year 
  seperates you? Henri and Ellard proved that it is. 13599971_1207102042642610_1239813027478141065_n
4)The best friend tag on a whole new level with 
  90-year-old BFFs These two bffs talk about 
  friendship ‪#‎bestfriendtag‬