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iPads for Seniors Program Helps Reduce Isolation
In March of 2021 the Schreiber Public Library launched its “iPads for seniors” programme. The idea was to make iPads available to people who might otherwise not have access to this technology. With COVID 19 causing more isolation amongst people and especially seniors, it was deemed important enough that the library got the green light for the project and funding was put in place.
As is the case with any project taken on in this last year, there were a few bumps along the way. Training would be a big part of the job but would have to be done online, a true case of catch 22 if ever there was one. Needless to say the project was a huge success and as the library and the Schreiber Seniors Centre have always had a beneficial working relationship.
Cathy Carlino, project co-ordinator for the Senior Centre, realized that there was still room for expansion of the project and undertook the task of finding more funding for an additional dozen iPads to add to the collection. Keep in mind that a good portion of the population of Schreiber are in that 50+ age bracket. Currently the senior centre has nearly 300 members in a town with a total population of just over 1000.
Kim Krause from the Schreiber Media Centre got in touch with Cathy to not only talk about the project, but to get an update as to how the centre was doing, considering it had been mostly closed for the last 12 months. Despite the closures, the Schreiber Media Centre has managed to not only cope but actually exceed expectations in some areas. Through innovative programmes such as the food hampers last summer and the Christmas gift bags, the Schreiber Senior Centre has been on hand to help the senior residents of Schreiber in many ways.
As Cathy mentioned before, they are always there for the residents of the community. With such a wide diversity of age within the seniors community, it can be difficult to tailor programming to fit all members. With the iPad programme for instance, a lot of the 50 to 70 year olds are somewhat or very accustomed to using technology as their skills can be transferred from cell phones to tablets very easily. However many of the over 70s don’t own cellphones or have internet and feel frustrated and left out. Giving them access to technology would have a huge impact on their lives.
Initially the original application was turned down when it came to getting iPads into the hands of seniors, but as the pandemic carried on the requirements were amended to allow the programme to proceed. As the library was already running a similar programme it was decided that logistically it made more sense to use the library as a holding area and distribution centre for the loaning of the devices. The library would also expand their training services to simplify the process and make it more inclusive.
It is quite amazing to see the response from seniors and their willingness to embrace this new technology, many that have the financial means have gone on to purchase their own devices as a result of the experience gained just by having access to technology.
The Senior Centre, along with the library, is also very involved in helping seniors with gardening. Many seniors have been thrilled to have the opportunity to get out and grow something when the weather is co operating. Cathy Carlino is a firm believer in partnerships and is looking forward to working with the Schreiber Media Centre this summer to help promote activities and raise awareness of issues in our town.
Schreiber Community Media is a non profit organization established with the aim of providing media production services and training for the residents of Schreiber and surrounding areas. Schreiber is located on the north shore of Lake Superior approximately two hours east of Thunder Bay.
The Schreiber Media Centre is locating in the Schreiber Public Library and includes tools for recording, live streaming and post production of audio and video.