Lifestyle & Culture

The Virtual Learning Community for Senior Citizens

GetSetUp offers live classes for older adults—taught by older adults—to learn life skills such as internet usage, health management and cooking

14.10.2020 | by Reve Fisher
Photo by Adam Niescioruk on Unsplash
Photo by Adam Niescioruk on Unsplash

Senior citizens are among the most vulnerable people in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only does their physical health make them a high-risk group, but their mental health is also more likely be negatively affected because of anxiety, fear and social isolation. According to the World Health Organisation, older adults may become “more anxious, angry, stressed, agitated and withdrawn” during this time, especially if they’re in isolation or already suffering from cognitive decline or dementia.

GetSetUp, a peer-to-peer EdTech startup for the elderly, is aiming to alleviate this problem. The interactive learning platform allows older adults to take over 150 live classes in topics such as technology, health, wellness, hobbies and professional development.

“One in seven Americans are age 65 and older, and that number will continue to grow to nearly a quarter of the population by 2060,” said Matt Greenfield, managing partner at ReThink Education. “This is a very large and active group, that is living, working, and contributing to society longer any generation prior. GetSetUp has the potential to provide millions of older adults a way to engage, stay active, rejuvenate and reinvent or reimagine themselves.”

The teachers, known as guides, are older adults, as well. Many of the guides are former teachers with graduate-level education. GetSetUp offers these individuals a chance to assist others while working part-time.

Some examples of the classes, many of which are currently free, teach students to use an Android smartphone, iPhone or iPad; stay safe online and recognise email scams; manage virtual platforms such as Zoom and Google Calendar; record, edit and share YouTube Videos; prepare seasonal meals; look after their mental health; and build a website or LinkedIn profile. Social hours are another way for seniors to connect through the website.

“Human connection is essential to a person’s growth, development, and happiness, but it is especially important in older adults, who suffer from loneliness and social isolation more than any other age group,” Lawrence Kosick, GetSetUp co-founder, said in a statement. “Through peer-to-peer connection, GetSetUp not only helps older adults avoid loneliness and combat social isolation, both which have, unfortunately, been exacerbated by COVID-19—especially in any community where traditional social programs have been dramatically altered by the pandemic—but give them a way to make money, while meeting and teaching others.”

Since the programme launched earlier this year, over 6,000 live sessions have been offered. The company has partnered with local health care systems, care providers and employers throughout the United States to faciliate digital adoption for the elderly.

Initiatives in several states are underway to provide GetSetUp services to millions of older adults. A branch of the YMCA in Texas is also working on a pilot programme with GetSetUp to offer the classes to over 30,000 of its members.

“Through our partnership with GetSetUp, we are providing more than 50,000 adults with a way to connect with peers and learn, at a time when many of their social activities have been either cancelled or severely impacted by COVID-19,” said John Cardone, EVP of brand experience at the YMCA of Greater Houston. “To help people feel less alone and give them a sense of belonging is not only one of our core values, but a benefit to the health and well-being of every older adult.”

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GetSetUp closed $10 million in funding in a round led by ReThink Education, with participation by AME Cloud Ventures, Work Play Ventures, Sweat Equity Ventures and other investors in the consumer internet and HealthTech industries.

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