With traditional ways of keeping in touch curtailed by Covid-19, many of us are turning to online communication tools such as Zoom to prevent a sense of social isolation setting in.
But for those without access to a computer, the internet, or the skills to get into an online meeting, this is not an option.
Frog Hollow’s proposed Program “Hello Virtual World” is looking to change that for seniors in the Hastings Sunrise area.
Lysandra Chan, senior programs coordinator, explains that currently Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House offers a One-to-One In-Person Digital Literacy program on Mondays from 10 a.m. to noon to teach online literacy skills. However, social distancing rules mean a very limited number of participants can attend. There is a waitlist for this program and the time with participants is extremely limited (half an hour per senior).
Frog Hollow is applying for a grant that would provide tablets and wi-fi sticks (which allow access to the internet without a subscription) to seniors in their own homes. They will pair this equipment with one-on-one instruction from a qualified Frog Hollow trainer. Safety protocols such as wearing masks and sanitizing equipment will be followed to ensure the health of all.
Frog Hollow Wellness Connectors, whose role is to check in on seniors via phone, will help identify those in the community who could benefit from this opportunity, but anyone over the age of 50 can sign up.
The aim is to recruit trainers who can communicate in languages primarily used by senior participants such as Cantonese and Spanish, but translation services can be offered for a range of languages.
Registration is likely to begin April 2021 for the in-home program but digital literacy classes at the centre are on-going. Pre-registration is required and the person to contact is Manda at 604-760-5351 or firstname.lastname@example.org.