Microsoft, AARP Announce Alliance To Provide Technology Springboard for Older Americans

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. and AARP today announced an alliance to educate older adults about personal computers and the Internet through a classroom-style seminar series called Lifetime Connections. News of the alliance was accompanied by results of a new AARP study of attitudes toward technology among Americans 50 and older, with comparisons to baby boomers in their 40s.

Microsoft and AARP plan to host 500 Lifetime Connections seminars in 30 U.S. cities through June 1998, bringing information about PC and Internet technology to 50,000 AARP members. Each session offers basic information about hardware, software and the Internet, as well as real-life examples of how PCs and the Internet can empower seniors to accomplish the following:

  • Connect and communicate easily with friends and family

  • Increase their prospects for continued employment

  • Research and understand retirement options in housing, investments, budgeting and government services

  • Access information about medical conditions and treatments

  • Cultivate new interests and enhance existing ones

Sony Electronics is supporting this educational series by providing its VAIO (Video, Audio, Integrated, Operation) Tower Computers as workstations at each event.

“More and more adults over 50 understand the real value of advanced technology,” said Horace B. Deets, executive director of AARP. “While many of our members already use computers and the Internet, many others want more information to enhance their knowledge of how PCs can serve their needs. As always, AARP is committed to offering its members resources that can enrich their lives.”

According to the AARP study, the attitude of older adults toward computer technology is positive, with nearly half (47 percent) of surveyed Americans 50 and older agreeing that life generally is better today than 50 years ago because of advanced technology. Those who own a computer (27 percent) say the main reason they do is that PCs simplify routine tasks, such as communicating, bookkeeping, maintaining records and doing office work at home. The study, “Technology Receptivity and Mature Americans,” was conducted by Roper Starch.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Americans 50 and older to get beyond the hype and see what computers can add to their lives,” said Bob Herbold, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Microsoft. “There has never been a better time for older adults to explore their options with computers. Not only are PCs and software easier than ever to use, but the Internet has become an ideal place to communicate, find information and keep on top of the news.”

Sony Electronics Inc. has donated nearly $440,000 worth of VAIO personal computer equipment for use during the seminars. After the seminar series, the equipment will be donated to nonprofit organizations for establishing or supplementing computing facilities specifically designed for people over 50.

“VAIO personal computers empower users of all ages to unlock their own creative abilities – to interactively create and share information and entertainment with friends, children and grandchildren,” said Tim Errington, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Sony Information Technologies of America (ITA), a divisional company of Sony Electronics.

Peer volunteers from SeniorNet, an organization that supports technology training and access for older adults, will assist with hands-on activities at the end of most seminars. SeniorNet’s 125 Learning Centers, along with other community resources, will provide continued training and support for the Lifetime Connections participants.

“It is essential that older Americans are not left by the side of the road on the information superhighway,” said Ann Wrixon, executive director of SeniorNet. “We applaud Microsoft and AARP for establishing a program that can bring computer and Internet information to so many seniors across the country.”

The Lifetime Connections program supplements Microsoft’s Family Technology Night series, now in its fifth year, through which more than 450,000 parents and children have learned about the use of computers in homes and schools. The program also continues AARP’s efforts to help older Americans understand how technology can enhance their lives, and to focus attention on how the aging population of the United States will affect the use and future development of technology.

AARP is the nation’s leading organization for people 50 and older. It serves their needs and interests through legislative advocacy, research, informative programs and community services provided by a network of local chapters and experienced volunteers throughout the country. The organization also offers members a wide range of special benefits, including Modern Maturity and the monthly Bulletin.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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