Connecting people to the internet
Updated: Jun 19
We're relying on new technology as never before during the health crisis. But what if you aren't on the internet? The charity Embracing Age - Care Home Friends has piloted a scheme to get tablets into the hands of older people who'd never normally own such a device.
Here's their account of how the scheme has been working to help older people stay connected online:
With care homes having to close their doors to visitors, we were aware of the potential heartache for residents and loved ones who can no longer spend time together. Our faithful team of volunteers who have been visiting residents are also unable to provide companionship at the moment. We wanted to do something that would help alleviate the situation, so we applied to Richmond Parish Lands Charity for funding to buy 20 Android tablets. They were happy to be able to help, and we were able to buy the tablets and set them up with apps to make video calls. We distributed them to care homes across the borough, to enable residents to stay connected with their loved ones with the help of staff. We also gave a couple of tablets to residents who we knew could use them unaided, to enable them to connect with volunteers, and others used games like Words with Friends. Recently we asked care homes to let us know the difference the tablets had made in the lives of residents, and we had some heart-warming feedback.
The tablets that arrived have become such a lifeline in these difficult times. All of our residents now have video calls with their relatives weekly, and some more than that. These calls are made with the help of our activities team, and they have become an activity that all the residents look forward to.
I would like to thank you all for the donation and can assure you that they will continue to play a big part in the residents' lives long after these difficult times have passed.
The Android tablets have been a great support for the home and the residents. Residents have been able to communicate with their loved ones via Skype and Zoom and they have also been able to communicate and play games every Friday with the children at a local nursery.
We have also been able to use the tablets to communicate visually with social workers and advocates, and to do medications reviews with GP. It has been a great asset to have in these difficult times.
The Android tablet has been great; lots of the residents have been doing weekly calls via Skype, including group chats. We have also used it for reminiscing, such as watching the history of places where residents lived on YouTube. And we have been playing the Sunday church service from St Mary's Church for the residents to join in with.
The [tablets] have made a huge difference to the health and well-being of our residents. It has enabled us to offer our residents more Skype calls than we had managed to do previously. A true Godsend, this is kindness epitomised.