Scottish Care launch initiative to connect separated families through technology

Scottish Care launch initiative to connect separated families through technology

The organisation is seeking donations of tablets, laptops, smart TVs and smartphones to keep care home residents connected with their loved ones

While everyone is staying home and doing their part to flatten the curve of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic across the UK, many people have become separated from their family and friends as a result. This has quickly become particularly challenging for care home residents who rely on visitors for their social interaction.

In response, Scottish Care has launched a programme to help connect residents of Scotland's care homes with their loved ones. Scottish Care represents the largest group of independent sector social care providers across Scotland offering residential care, nursing care, day care, care at home and housing support services.

The idea for the Tech Device Network came about when publicist Jenn Nimmo-Smith, Director of Electric Shores, became concerned about her mum who lives in a care home. She was able to video call her mum who has an iPad, but was aware that not all residents would have access to devices providing face-to-face digital communication.

'As my Mum is in a care home, now more than ever video calling is going to be our lifeline to connect,' says Nimmo-Smith, who has partnered with Scottish Care for the initiative. 'My hope is that this will help other families and those with loved ones who they can't visit given the current COVID-19 pandemic to stay in contact and enable that connection that is so important and vital to our relationships.'

Scottish Care launch initiative to connect separated families through technology

Jenn Nimmo-Smith and her mum

Scottish Care is currently seeking donations of any devices that can be used to enable social connection through apps and internet connection, including tablets, laptops, smart TVs and larger models of smartphones. Residents of care homes and people supported in their own homes may feel anxious and the ability to see a familiar face and talk to their loved ones will make such a difference to them in a time of uncertainty.

'We are delighted to partner with Jenn to launch this Tech Device Network, supporting the wellbeing of our older and vulnerable citizens receiving care here in Scotland through access to technology,' says Becca Young, Policy & Research Manager at Scottish Care. 'Many are likely to be experiencing significantly reduced physical contact and social engagement as a result of the current pandemic and this initiative is a positive way in which we can keep our communities connected.'

Donated devices should ideally be in new or unused condition or have been minimally used, and they should also include any required accessories such as chargers or remotes. For privacy protection reasons, devices should be cleared of any personal information or data and protected against malware. All donors are asked to ensure that their donated devices are clean and safe. Scottish Care will also liaise with donors and recipients to ensure the safe collection and delivery of devices.

For more information on the initiative and to donate a device, visit scottishcare.org/techdevicenetwork

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