The Seniors’ Group has existed for 8 years in St. James Town and started after the fire at 200 Wellesley in 2010. Prior to COVID-19, the group consisted of about 20 people per session and there was already a Computer Learning Program in place, but it quickly pivoted to Zoom.
The Tablet Training program was a collaborative response to COVID-19 for many reasons as tablets can help seniors participate remotely during COVID-19 and stay connected with others. Seniors can maintain mental stimulation by participating in the online programs organized by the Sunshine Group involving trivia, drawing and maps.
Progress Place successfully applied for the New Horizons Grant and was able to provide engaged seniors with tablets at no charge. The tablets have been very well received by the seniors who were all excited to get them and begin their exploration. Student volunteers at Progress Place helped set up apps on the tablets and gave some demonstrations on how to use them.
Through community outreach, seniors check in with one another and program coordinators reach out to 250 active members who cannot make it to the programs. These phone calls can be as simple as a friendly hello, or they can help remind members of appointments they need to attend, follow-up on meal deliveries, grocery shopping or share available community resources.
Participants of the Seniors’ Program have volunteered their time with the Rekai Center’s palliative care program and have enjoyed a shopping event at the Progress Place Boutique. Seniors participated in a three Day Senior Leadership Course so they could become Ambassadors for community resources and peer outreach. Seniors have also spent time shopping for others and loaning resources such as phones and other electronics. The program has also provided COVID education and awareness to those who want to be out and about in the community.