In a first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at bridging the widening technology gap in the Middle East region, Whirlpool Corporation has launched the #AgelessTechnology campaign in association with Zayed University and the Senior’s Happiness Centre in Dubai.
As technology evolves rapidly, the gap in access to technology platforms and utilization rates among generations has been growing. Furthermore, interaction between the younger and older generations has been diminishing as a result of changing communication behavior among young adults. To address these issues and raise awareness about them, Whirlpool Corporation has embarked on a journey to bridge the gap between older and younger generations, bringing them together under the #AgelessTechnology movement. In the first major event of this campaign, Whirlpool hosted a technology orientation workshop at Zayed University’s Dubai campus, where students helped the elderly people understand benefits of using technology and walked them through the steps for using popular social media applications. Some of the elders connected with their close friends on these applications at the workshop, which also gave students an intimate understanding of the barriers of using technology among elders. The students demonstrated how easily technology can be used to stay connected to people around the world, and also make life easier.
Speaking at the event, Mohamad El Yassir, Regional Managing Director, MEA, Whirlpool Corporation said, “Technology is transforming the way we connect with each other. Already, the Middle East region, especially the GCC, is home to one of the highest internet penetration rates. However, this ability to connect with ease is beyond the grasp of many elders in our community. At Whirlpool, our commitment is to innovate and harness technology in a way that simplifies life and enables everyone to benefit from it. We have launched this initiative to move towards an era of #AgelessTechnology where we are able to bridge the technology gap between older & younger generations, and bring them closer together. In the Year of Zayed, we would like to dedicate this program to his spirit of an inclusive and compassionate society. We are delighted to have the support of Zayed University and Senior’s Happiness Centre as we grow this initiative.”
Whirlpool has also commissioned a study in partnership with Ipsos Research to understand technology usage and preparedness amongst different age groups in the UAE and KSA. Results of the study will be unveiled later this month.
“At the Seniors’ Happiness Centre we always have high regards to our clients and we like to celebrate their ageing with them. We aim at promoting active ageing by working on three main pillars: minimize the risk of disease and disability, maintain physical and cognitive function, and continue engagement with life. By having the ageless technology by Whirlpool we will be helping our seniors to continue their life engagement by not being behind the technology. We all use technology to make life easier and we want the same for our seniors. We had actually started teaching few seniors on how to use some mobile applications like WhatsApp, and this had enabled them to communicate with us in a better way, and to call us in case of emergency, as technology can be lifesaver. One client is having an Instagram account operated by his son, but he feels proud keeping his precious photos in. We are positive that this initiative will be of a great help to our beloved seniors.” said Dr. Salwa Alsuwaidi, Geriatrician and Director at Seniors’ Happiness Center in Dubai.
Prof. Reyadh AlMehaideb, Vice-President of Zayed University, said, “The UAE pays great respect to elderly ‘Senior Emiratis’ and we are delighted to take part in the #AgelessTechnology campaign.” He noted the recent directive by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai for “introducing a national policy for ‘Senior Emiratis’ confirming the protection of their rights, ensuring greater social inclusion and encouraging ‘Senior Emiratis’ to remain active members of society.”
AlMehaideb added that Zayed University has always been a great supporter of community engagement activities and shall proceed with hosting further social responsibility initiatives. “This collaboration is in line with the University’s values and objectives to educate our students to care for the elderly as demonstrated earlier this year, when over 50 of our students have registered for ‘Weleef’ social care program, which was launched by the Dubai Community Development Authority to provide Senior Emiratis with care and improve their living environments,” He said.
Whirlpool aims to take this initiative across the Middle East and inspire generations to connect better, while making the most of technology.