Skip to main content
Group of Asian women wearing masks learning about smartphone technology

News and ViewsFebruary 14, 2024

Charter Hosts 'Smart Devices for Seniors' Program to Help them Connect

Pilot Program Offers Training for Non-English Speaking Senior Populations Who Want to Catch up with Younger Generations on Devices and Apps

Share Article:

Yaoming Xu, a 70-year-old living in the Los Angeles area, felt technology was moving faster than he could. He was missing out on connections with family and friends and wanted to learn more about devices and applications to help him catch up.

Xu attended “Smart Devices for Seniors,” a hands-on smart device training session, aimed at seniors 65 or older piloted by Spectrum in the greater Los Angeles area, in partnership with the OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, Cyber Seniors and the Chinatown Service Center. The hour-long class was free and taught in Mandarin, drawing nearly 100 seniors to two classes in November.

The training agenda included an introduction to Android devices, and downloading and navigating apps like WeChat, a popular messaging platform in China. During the sessions, Xu learned how to navigate the app, understand its basic features and can now add and engage with friends.

“I wanted to educate myself with the tech available to my generation,” said Xu. “Through the class, I learned how to reconnect and communicate with my friends and family on WeChat.”

Charter is finding new ways to help reduce digital disparities for senior, non-English speaking populations.


Xu is not alone in feeling disconnected because of gaps in understanding technology. Laptops, tablets, smartphones and applications are changing rapidly and can cause some, particularly seniors, to feel left behind — especially when that means losing connection with family, friends, current events or ways of doing business.

“I wanted to learn how to use my phone,” said Anshu Yang, a 75-year-old participant. “I liked attending this class and learned how to send text messages. As an elderly person, this was invaluable.” 

Meeting Seniors’ Needs with Spectrum Program 

For some seniors in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, the divide and disconnect can be even more pronounced if English is their second language. This is troubling given that in a 2021 AARP survey of 3,000 people aged 18 and older, 42% of respondents aged 50 and older didn’t feel that technology was designed with them in mind, saying it was too complex, offered a poor user experience and insufficient training materials.

Smart Devices for Seniors Pilot Program Empowered Connection

“It was gratifying to see how engaged each participant was in learning new skills to help them stay in touch with loved ones or simply enjoy the benefits of connectivity,” said Marissa Lambrinos, Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion at Charter. “We believe this training can be adapted for seniors from many different backgrounds to enhance their digital understanding and plan to explore ways to provide it for other senior populations.”

For Xu and Yang, they are more empowered to reconnect with family and friends through new apps and are now interested in additional training.

“I would like to learn more about the different apps and learn how to watch news and sports events on my phone,” Xu said.

Yang added, “If there is another class, I want to attend.”

Learn more about Charter’s commitment to Diversity & Inclusion here