Since April 1, 2020, Cyber-Seniors programs:
How We Measure
Cyber-Seniors collects data on an ongoing basis. The Cyber-Seniors’ web-portal is equipped to automatically administer surveys to both seniors and young people who participate in the program.
Seniors are administered surveys that measure changes in their use of technology and connections to community using:
- the “Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS-6)”,
- the “Behaviour and Use of the Internet Scale”, and
- the “Digital Competence Scale”.
Our young volunteers are administered surveys that measure changes in attitudes toward aging (and stereotype reduction) using:
- the “Fear of Older People Measure”, and
- the “Attitudes Toward Ageing Measure”
As well, they are asked to report on improvement in skills such as goal setting, time management, leadership, problem solving and professional skill building using the “Youth Experience Survey”. In addition, our system collects the following demographic information on the seniors who participate in the program:
- Zip Code
- Marital Status
- Employment Status
- Income Level
- Living Arrangement
- General Health (ie. Presence of chronic illness and/or impairments)
Demographic information we collect on student volunteers includes:
- Zip Code
- Income Level (by free or reduced cost lunch at school)
- Current Education Level
Dr. Skye Leedahl from the University of Rhode Island, and Dr. Mark Chignell from the University of Toronto, provide oversight of our data collection and periodically analyse and report on the findings.
In 2016/2017 four Cyber-Senior programs running in different settings (1) University of Rhode Island Program 2) Volunteer Agency 3) Boy and Girls Club 4) Career Tech Center were part of a formative evaluation to examine proposed benefits for students (high school and university) and older adults and learn from programmatic experiences. The research was led by Prof. Skye Leedahl at the University of Rhode Island.
Using Pre & Post surveys, researchers found that the students showed improvements in attitudes toward aging, and nearly all reported gaining skills in goal setting, time management, leadership and responsibility, and problem solving. Seniors experienced a significant improvement in their ability (p<.01) and their interest (p<.05) in technology and those who were low in social isolation showed significant reductions in social isolation scores (p<.05).
The study also concluded that this program is highly sustainable and transferable to other settings working to increase technology use and reduce digital/ social isolation among older adults.
Leedahl, S. N., Brasher, M. S., Estus, E., Breck, B. M., Dennis, C. B., & Clark, S. C. (2019). Implementing an interdisciplinary intergenerational program using the Cyber Seniors® reverse mentoring model within higher education. Gerontology & geriatrics education, 40(1), 71-89.
Serrano, I., & Leedahl, S.N. (2019, November 13). Examining the social and technological benefits of an intergenerational program for older adults. Poster presentation at the 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America in Austin, TX.
LoBuono, D.L., Leedahl, S.N., & Maiocco, E. (2018, November 14). Technology use, teaching modalities, and learning progression for older adults. Poster presentation at the 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America in Boston, MA.
Breck, B.M., Dennis, C.B., & Leedahl, S.N. (2017, October 21). Promoting digital literacy among older Adults: An intergenerational approach. Poster presentation at the Council on Social Work Education Conference in Dallas, TX.
Leedahl, S.N., Kotzian, H., Estus, E., Brasher, M.S., Clark, S., Bishal, T., & Rusnak, B. (2017, July 26). Connecting generations through technology: Evaluating older adult and student mentor program outcomes. Poster presentation at the 2017 IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics in San Francisco, CA.
Our Volunteers are the Backbone of our Organization
“If you found this opportunity, you should consider yourself lucky, because once you get into it, you will find out that it’s worth it”
We're Making a Real Difference in the Lives of Senior Citizens
“I’m learning so much…that was great…we have a good teacher…it was wonderful working with you…thank you so much!”
Building Intergenerational Communities in North America
“When I’m working with these younger people I feel invigorated…it keeps my mind more alert and active and it keeps me a bit more in touch with what they think of when they see what’s going on in the world.”