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More and more long-term care facilities are offering tech training for residents. (Credit: ipuwadol / Getty Images)

An ongoing problem in healthcare that telehealth services hope to address is the lack of access that some older adults have to acute-care services, even when they live in long-term care residences. 

To that end, thousands of seniors living in rural areas across the South soon may be getting access to new devices to improve health outcomes — and the training to use them. 

A new partnership between T-Mobile and Older Adults Technology Services, also known as OATS, will offer tools and training to 100 select long-term care providers in 15 states, the companies announced recently

As part of the deal, involved older adults will get access to OATS’ Senior Planet training programs.

“With today’s technology advancement, it’s essential that older Americans are connected with the vital tools to thrive in today’s digital world,” Tom Kamber, OATS’ executive director, said in a statement. “This opportunity to work with T-Mobile will go a long way toward providing older adults with critical technology skills that can help further close the digital divide.”

Although a start date was not given, the partnership will be a multi-year program, the companies stated. 

Although tech literacy among older adults is steadily improving — more than half of seniors now own a smartphone — rapidly emerging technologies require new training. In addition, tech access and knowledge remain an issue in rural communities. 

In past Senior Planet programs, more than 70% of users cited a range of improvements from feeling better equipped to find online or digital resources, to feeling less alone, OATS claims.

In the past, OATS’ virtual programming has included not just tech training but also virtual exercise programs for seniors and online book clubs, McKnight’s Home Care has reported.