Staying connected is now more important than ever, and Ontario Tech University is helping older adults do just that.
On Monday, laptops and tablets were dropped off at the Bowmanville Older Adult Association.
The past 12 months have been isolating for Joanna Bowman. The retired teacher gets out for walks, but still feels disconnected from the world.
“Not going places, for me sewing was my passion and no sewing classes anymore, and just staying at home,” said Bowman.
On Monday, the 66-year-old received a laptop to help her reconnect with friends.
“It’s eye opening; it’s going to make things a lot better. The best thing would be to be able to out doing what we used to do, but this will help remove some of that isolation,” said Bowman.
It’s part of an initiative by Ontario Tech Universiy, which kicked off last month. The goal is to collect laptops and tablets for seniors at the Bowmanville Older Adult Association, which has 1,800 members.
“By having this, we can help them get that piece together and really engage with people again and feel like they’re part of things,” said Amanda Gaudet, an associate professor at Ontario Tech.
Monday marked the first drop-off, after dozens of donations were collected over the past few weeks.
“We’ve identified a need that isn’t just COVID-related but more to just help older adults in general, something that’s a little out of their price range to access and we can give it to them programmed ready to go with what they need,” said Gaudet.
“The list I have for people waiting is getting longer each day,” said Angie Darlison, executive director at BOAA, who was giving them out as fast as they were coming in.
“Now that we’re a year into this pandemic I think they’re realizing they do need the technology and now it’s available to them for free,” said Darlison.
Fourth-year network and IT security student Brendan Vickers is helping clear the devices for use.
“Faster laptops, slower laptops, slower tablet, some programs might not work just because of bugs and other stuff like that, but we’re moving pretty quick,” said Vickers.
While Joanna Bowman says she isn’t a tech-savvy person, having this technology in her hands is life-changing.
“I was over the moon. This is simple and they say I’m able to work with this,” said Bowman.
The tech drive was supposed to be a short-term initiative at the BOAA, but with the outpouring of community support it received, Ontario Tech plans to keep it going.