By Karen Anne Blakely
Abbotsford House has started a special Seniors Tablet Project (a tablet being a computer that is smaller than a laptop but bigger than a phone) to make it easier for seniors to connect with family, the community and each other.
The Champlain Community Support Network secured a collective purchase of Internet-enabled tablets to be used by seniors and adults with disabilities in their homes in the community. Abbotsford House was given 10 tablets. The funding came from the provincial government, so there is no cost for clients for use of one of these tablets. The Royal Bank of Canada Foundation has generously donated an additional 12 tablets and protective cases to the project.
Abbotsford House is also pleased to receive funding from the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program for the Abbotsford Seniors Stay Strong project, which includes a tablet-loaning program to ensure seniors who experience barriers get the technology and any help they need to use it to reduce isolation. The money will pay for some tablets and accessories to loan to seniors, some online activities, training and wages.
All the tablets are android-based and will be used by clients to access virtual care, participate in social and health programs, and to engage with family and community through online platforms. The Seniors Tablet Project aims to reduce barriers and support seniors and adults with disabilities living in community. Some seniors will require a lot of support to use the tablets; others have tech-savvy family members to help them and just need the tablet to get started.
Nick Bermudez is overseeing the project. He recently moved into a program facilitation position at Abbotsford House, and he looks forward to connecting with the members and clients of Abbotsford. He will be setting up the tablets, promoting the program, dropping the tablets off at clients’ homes and checking in by telephone and online. He will be helping to train participants to use the tablets and to connect to virtual programs, services and apps that interest them.
This project will give seniors more options to stay connected with others, get what they need online, find answers to questions about health and wellness, and even book appointments with their doctor online. Some may become active on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok! Others may play word games with their friends or listen to podcasts. We hope some will want to sign up for Zoom classes at Abbotsford House to learn a new language or to do a fitness or art class. These new technical skills will be useful now when movements are restricted by the pandemic and later when it is impossible to go outdoors due to inclement weather or poor health.
Abbotsford is your community support centre for adults 55+. We are the community programs of The Glebe Centre Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit, organization that includes a 254-bed long-term care home. Find out more about our services by dropping by 950 Bank Street (the old stone house) Mon- Fri 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, calling 613-230-5730 or by checking out all of The Glebe Centre facilities and community programs on our website glebecentre.ca.
Karen Anne Blakely is director of community programs at Abbotsford.