Using technology to combat senior isolation

People often lament the fact that technology is deteriorating human relationships. But for seniors, the opposite might be true. A new pilot program funded by the AARP Foundation is building technological connections for seniors as a way of combating isolation. The program provides iPads to seniors, as well as classes on how to use the Internet, social media, Skype, and more (WaPo, 5/9):

In the District, the program selected low-income seniors at high risk of being disconnected from friends and family, said Najeeb Uddin, the AARP Foundation’s vice president of technology.

“We’re targeting people on the verge of being isolated and depressed. Their spouse might have passed away,” he said. “It’s about connecting to the community. It just happens to be that we’re using technology to do it.”

YOUTH | The Children’s Law Center has released its 2013 Children’s Mental Health Report Card. This year’s marks for the District are mixed, but hopeful (WAMU, 5/9):

Judith Sandalow is the executive director of Children’s Law Center, a nonprofit in D.C. She says there are “promising beginnings” when it comes to how the District serves children with mental health needs.

But Sandalow says there is still a long way to go. She says there are too many agencies involved leading to what she calls “bureaucratic fragmentation.” And Sandalow says how soon a child gets treatment is also a problem.

Read the report here.

Related: Pushing for More Progress in the District’s Children’s Mental Health System (HuffPo, 5/9)

HEALTH | Jacqueline Bowens has been named to succeed Sharon Baskerville as the CEO of the D.C. Primary Care Coalition. (WBJ, 5/9)

Related: The D.C. Primary Care Coalition is one of the key players in our Beyond Dollars story on expanding the health care safety net. You can check out the report here.

EDUCATION
– The District is set to open a “hybrid traditional-charter” school in Southeast. Chancellor Kaya Henderson says, “It’s an animal that we’ve never seen before.” (WaPo, 5/9) Is it a unicorn? I bet it’s a unicorn. I knew they existed!

Putting Inner City Students on a Path to High-Paying Jobs, For Real (Atlantic, 5/9)

HOUSING
– In case the economic collapse didn’t do it already, Richard Florida has deflated the American dream of homeownership. He digs into a report about the relationship between unemployment and homeownership and says, “Higher rates of homeownership lead to higher rates of unemployment.” (Atlantic, 5/9)

Related: Florida discusses the relationship between housing and commuting. We looked at the same issue in our recent report on housing affordability.

Greater Greater Washington’s Dave Aplert explains how the increased production of high-end rental units in our region could trigger drops in rent through a process called “filtering.” (GGW, 5/9) Contrary to my initial expectation, this does not mean refraining from swearing at leasing agents to get better rates.

LOCAL
– Arlington’s population is expected to continue booming, thanks especially to the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan. (WTOP, 5/9)

– Robert McCartney writes about how impressed he is about regional collaboration to clean sewage. (WaPo, 5/9)

– Lots of great stuff from The Atlantic today. Here’s a look at how highway construction ruined Southwest D.C. – and how new development could resurrect it. (Atlantic, 5/9)


I forgot to post this yesterday, but Jimmy Fallon and John Krasinski (from The Office) had a hilarious lip syncing competition. It’s pretty funny. (Note: I downgraded my sentiment and didn’t even notice when I published.)

And, here’s an amusing connection between autocomplete and the platypus.