The past couple of years revealed the importance of connecting with others to reduce social isolation. A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) noted that more than one third of adults over 45 feel lonely and nearly one quarter of adults over 65 are thought to experience social isolation. Staff in long term care communities began using technology such as teaching residents how to utilize items such as an iPad which brought opportunities for residents to connect with friends and family
The Aging Assistance Granting Committee was thanked by the Chandler Hall’s staff for the generous Block Grant to Facilities in July 2021. Sheila Sorkin, Aging Support Coordinator asked staff the following questions and was delighted with their responses.
Beverly Gowton, Life Enrichment Director shared that the residents photographed were ages 85 – 98 years old. This group has lived in Chandler Hall from one to seven years. Prior to the onset of Covid and this grant, the residents didn’t have a way to communicate visually with friends and family.
Q: Would you please provide some additional background such as how residents received iPads or if they were shared?
The iPads are shared with our Residents. Each of our Life Enrichment staff (6) manages one of the iPads. They are then shared with the residents in different areas. (Nursing Home, Memory Care, Personal Care and Independent Living).
Q: Did the residents receive one-on-one instruction on using them?
The Life Enrichment staff provides one-on-one instructions with the residents each time they use an iPad and for each app the resident chooses to use. Residents found just touching a screen was so powerful to enable communication adding to their joy.
Q: Did the residents use the iPads to receive calls only or did they also initiate them?
Residents would either initiate the video chat with their loved ones, or the iPads are provided to them when a video chat is scheduled with families. Some of the residents use them independently, but the Life Enrichment staff is available to assist with residents who require help. One of the Memory Care residents was observed having an iPad set up next to her luncheon plate. She was enjoying sharing a meal while video chatting with her daughter in California.
Q: I saw one photo where someone was playing a game. How else did the residents use the iPads?
The residents use the iPads for listening to music, playing games, video chatting with friends/family, taking pictures and seeing themselves in pictures. We have even taken the pictures and created videos with music. Those who played games as shown in the photo have been having a great time.
Enjoy these photos To Brighten Your Day!
This article is part of the To Brighten Your Day series: stories that explore the lives of our aging community members in the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.