I visit many aged care facilities in my role as an Aged Care Placement Specialist and I’m well aware that many residents miss their loved ones and look for a way to keep in touch. Personal visits are best ofcourse, but sometimes relatives can only come once a week or once a month and some live too far away for regular visits.
I was delighted to hear about a new technology that makes it easy for elderly people to keep in touch. It’s a video telephone. A resident at Box Hill Uniting AgeWell, June Clapton received a most welcome gift from her son, Derek when he gave her a Konnekt Videophone. Derek is a devoted son and visits his mum every week playing her favourite music and going through old photos but he realised she missed him through the week and pined to see her son Ray who lives in Tasmania and her five grandchildren who live in various locations around Victoria. Derek had thought of getting his Mum an Ipad to run Skype or Facetime so she could keep in touch, but realised that now she was 90 years old she would find it too fiddly, the screen too small and June’s hands would not be able to operate the buttons. When he came across the videophone with a big 15-inch touchscreen, huge buttons that work even while wearing a glove, and is super simple to use, even easier than a regular telephone, he knew he had the answer.
“My Mum is used to doing things herself,” explained Derek. “She was once fiercely independent… this new technology has empowered her again and brings back some independence.“ Derek noticed that June is much happier now being able to connect with her sons and eldest granddaughter Deane, as well as a growing list of old friends.
Following a personal visit to see June Deanne commented that Grandma seems much happier and more settled since having the videophone installed and Derek says “I haven’t seen her smile this much since first entering the Uniting AgeWell community 4 years ago.”
One hears so much negativity about social media and screen time, but It’s great to see a positive in new technology; a new way to help connect the elderly so they don’t feel so isolated. I expect to see a lot more of these video phones in Aged Care Facilities as I visit different facilities to assess their suitability for my clients.