Our senior population often feels isolated,but COVID-19 has made matters worse. One West Island non-profit is trying to change that through a special iPad-matching program.
Felicia Filip and 60 year-old Gerry are part of that program. They have a special relationship — one conducted exclusively through the phone.
Sometimes, Filip is the only friend Gerry sees in a day.
Filip is a volunteer at the West Island Citizen Advocacy non-profit (WICA). She was matched with Gerry in order to break her isolation.
An iPad would help them communicate more easily.
“She said she would like to use Facetime because she can read my lips and she would understand better,” explained Filip. “So we started using messenger and we were able to connect at a deeper level.”
Filip and Gerry are two of about 200 people waiting to get an iPad.
The initiative is sponsored by the WICA, and the technology would also be used to attend online programs.
“It will allow them to come to virtual art classes,” said Roya Jaffari, the director of WICA.
Jaffari says COVID-19 and its restrictions have pushed some seniors further into isolation.
“We have protégés in the organization that have absolutely no people. Except the professionals that come for business, they don’t see any friendly phone calls,” Jaffari said.
The non-profit is raising funds to purchase as many iPads as possible so seniors can socialize.
For now, their first target is $5,000.
“A lot of seniors in residences are really isolated and it causes them to have cognitive impairment and be forgetful but staying connected really helps,” said Natasha Ryan a community worker with WICA.
For Filip and Gerry, being in touch has already made a huge difference
“I find she has more purpose and her facial expression lighten up. From the moment I met her and now, she seems more relaxed and happy,” said Filip.
They’re both hoping an iPad will help them deepen their connection even more.