iPads for the Isolated Elderly

During this period of isolation, the majority of us have the technology and ability to pick up our phone and connect via Facetime or Skype, with loved family members, friends, or colleagues, and experience some connection. For many elderly community members at long-term care homes, they do not have this privilege. Many elderly are without access to the technology needed to communicate with loved ones, and at this time as only essential visitors are permitted to visit long-term care homes (who are visiting family members either palliative or receiving end-of-life care), they are particularly isolated.

 

Upon speaking with a number of long-term care homes, I learned that at the moment residents are also unable to leave their premises, must maintain an appropriate social distance at all times, and therefore at this moment must eat meals in isolation in their own respective rooms for safety concerns.



Although as a society we are doing our best to protect these individuals - who are high risk for both contracting COVID-19 and for the severity of the disease - social isolation can have severe health consequences. It is correlated with loneliness - which has its own associated risks of increased anxiety, depression, and susceptibility to some infectious diseases due to decreased immune responses, and furthermore, studies of social isolation in humans have found that social isolation increased individuals’ risk of morbidity and mortality.



iPads for the Isolated Eldery is donating iPads to long-term care homes in need. The iPads will allow isolated residents to FaceTime with family members and loved ones, who they are currently unable to see in person. Each iPad is equipped with a stand and can be cleaned with a disinfectant after each use. Every proceed donated is going directly to purchasing iPads for residents in need at long-term care homes who are without such resources



Other long-term homes currently using iPads for residents gave us great feedback, and affirmed it was great a tool for their residents to keep in touch with their loved ones. A long-term care home we spoke to shared that they were using theirs to schedule video calls with appointments scheduled every 15 minutes.



The Roxborough, (a seniors home in Newmarket) shared this feedback from their own iPad program with residents.

 
Jodi sent me this email:

                    We had our first FaceTime today with a resident and his 
                    daughter and this is the email from the daughter after:

                    It was awesome, so awesome

                    HE LOVED IT

                    He doesn’t giggle like that too often.

                    I think he felt a great sense of relief to see us.

                    It was a wonderful moment.

                    Have a great weekend.

                    Xo


The iPads and stands are ready to go. They were pre-ordered in preparation for shipping delays, so the moment we have the funds, we can immediately put them into the hands of the long-term care homes we have spoken to in Toronto, Newmarket and Hamilton.

 

We are social creatures, and are so fortunate to have tools that allow us to communicate with others while being physically apart, and I hope we can give that same comfort to those that need it the most.



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We are aware of the very heavy financial impact COVID-19 has played in many people’s lives, from reduced salaries to jobs lost; we would love everyone to donate whatever amount they are able, however understand those unable to give at this time. I feel very fortunate to still have a job as a Registered Nurse and be able to go to work, and will donate half of my earnings from my overtime shifts I am able to pick up.



COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it. Our lives that are normally filled with work, errands, meetings, appointments, gatherings with friends and family – these have all been put on hold as we face this unprecedented time. There have been sacrifices given, and losses had, and I would like to thank and acknowledge to all those who have made sacrifices throughout this time. 



These sacrifices have not been made lightly – but they are sacrifices given by everyone of all degrees, to help defeat something that is so much bigger than us, and I continue to be inspired by the strength and unity shared by this world.


 

Photo by Alex Boyd on Unsplash

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Lesley Hamilton 
Organizer
Toronto, ON
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