Several months into the project of putting computers into the homes of seniors in our community, it is finally coming together. Elders have been paired with teens and care managers, and almost everyone has his or her computer or iPad installed. Many seniors are excited and eager to get started. Skill sets run the gamut: some people are skyping away with their family and care managers and ready to move on to other internet possibilities; others are more tentative and still trying to understand computing basics but are able to be walked through the process with the help of their care managers. Care managers have been impressed with the abilit of everyone to learn. The only thing holding us back now is the teen connections- many are away for the summer so that component of the program is getting off to a slower start. But there is overall enthusiasm generating from the elders, and anecdotally, the excitement is trending to more engagement and less social isolation.
There were, of course, glitches along tjhe way that slowed us down- elders getting sick or having “user’s remorse,” internet taking longer to set up, or computer installations being delayed, but those are all stories to add to the lessons learned category. And although of course there are always new lessons to be learned, I think we have gotten through the start-up lessons!
I will keep you posted as we move forward.
Thanks for following,
We have 16 teen volunteers and 22 of their parents coming in tonight to learn more about the TeleCare project and to be trained by Alon and Nancy on how best to use the technology to work with their elders. We have partnered the teens with their elders and we are ready to go. It is so exciting to start this project. Now we need to get the computers and Ipads delivered into the homes and get the training class scheduled at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades. I will keep you posted. Thanks for your support and ideas.
In direct response to Alon’s letter requesting computers, we have received three computers and are looking forward to several more coming in. We still have not heard about any Ipads and we do have some less mobile elders who would greatly benefit from their use. Right now we are identifying teens to partner and train the elders involved. It is not to late to get onboard this very exciting project. We welcome all help. Thanks to Alon and his mom Nancy for training the volunteers in the model we will be using with our elders. What a great team.
We have identified 19 elders who will be getting either iPads or desktops in their homes. Right now we are working to decide which programs to pre-load on the computers or iPads. It is really fun to see the possibilities and then make decisionis for maximum ease of usage.
I have recently started an important community service project as I pledged to do at my Bar Mitzvah with Jewish Family Services. I am assisting with a pilot program that will help to get some of the homebound or lonely elderly in Bergen County (many of them Holocaust survivors) a way to communicate with family members and friends through modern tools like Skype. The pilot program will start with only 20 members of the local community and if it goes well, will expand out to a larger elderly population.
I am the only teen working on this project with the JFS planning team, and it has been an incredible experience sitting in and participating in adult meetings. But what I am really looking forward to will be when I will be part of a team that teaches the pilot group of elderly at their individual homes how to use Skype and to practice with them until the can use it on their own.
I am writing to all of you today to ask something very simple. I would like to ask all of you to look at home and at the office to see if you have any old, but working computers, or an iPad that you may no longer want or need that could be donated to JFS for this project. JFS is working with a grant to launch this program, but any funds that can be saved on hardware JFS can allocate towards more training time for the participants, and possibly getting a larger group involved.
I have already gathered a number of computers from my parent”s offices, but JFS could certainly use more. If you have old computers laying around that are in working order, rather than throwing them away, please consider donating them to help someone in need communicate with their family and friends. We will arrange to get the computers picked up, or they can be dropped off at JFS”s offices in Teaneck.
We are very excited at JFS Bergen & North Hudson to be starting this demonstration project with our elders. We will be bringing internet technology to the homes of 20 identified elders- either computers or IPads- and working with them to help reduce social isolation. Follow this Blog as I share the trials and tribulations of this exciting initiative. Your comments are welcome as we roll this out.