Connecting Seniors Through Technology
In the summer months of 2020, we redesigned our intergenerational programs to become virtual as it became even more evident that our seniors were isolated, lonely, and withdrawn. More so than ever before, it became critical to keep seniors connected to youth in our community. With the severe visiting restrictions placed at all senior facilities, many seniors had little or no contact with the outside world.
Currently, our students visit with a senior in one of our senior facility partnerships, where we connect them by a virtual platform such as Google Meet or Zoom. Together they talk, share life stories and even do virtual activities together.
With funding received from Field Law this past year, we were able to supply iPads and headsets to seniors in care so that they could maintain contact with our youth and their families. Visiting on a virtual platform has been difficult for some of our seniors; however, we are confident we have eased their fears. We have made it seamless for them to continue to visit with our students. Seniors are now embracing the new technology, although many still question how “did you get inside the iPad”?
As an added note, having the ability to supply our seniors with iPads allowed them to connect with family members over the Christmas holidays. For many, this was the first time they had seen their own family in months.
This continues to be an incredibly challenging time for our seniors; however, we are committed to providing programs to help seniors better cope with the impacts of the pandemic and day to day life in general. At the end of our program year June 30th, 2020, even with COVID in place, we had recorded over 4900 volunteer hours. Linking Generations was honoured to once again to have been nominated for the Ministers Seniors Service Award for 2020, receiving recognition for the outstanding commitment our program offers to improve the quality of life of Alberta Seniors in Strathcona County.