COVID-19 has given many of us a taste of isolation and loneliness, a reality that older people in Canada face every day. We have awakened to the terrible truth that seniors face serious barriers to participating in community and the experience of quarantine has created inhumane conditions for many, often facing the palliative journey alone.
The Seniors Can Connect! Programs are designed to help seniors connect with loved-ones and community through technology. HelpAge Canada and Connected Canadians are working together to provide access and support to technology for seniors across Canada.
Seniors Can Connect! Toll Free Tech Support Hotline provides free training and support for seniors and the devices they currently own. Through a rigorous volunteer training program and IT support, the call centre connects seniors with volunteer technical mentors in multiple languages currently in Ontario and Eastern Quebec.
Seniors Can Connect! Tablet Lending Program loans ICT devices, such as tablets, to Canadian seniors who otherwise would not have access to them, to allow these seniors to communicate with their loved ones and the outside world. We work with local community partners, currently in the Ottawa area
Connected Canadians is a federally incorporated non-profit organization based in Ottawa, with a mandate to connect older adults with free technology training and support. Many Connected Canadians volunteers are new Canadians who are highly skilled technology workers, collectively they speak 12 languages. Volunteers benefit from the cultural awareness and conversational practice opportunities that come from their interaction with clients, and clients feel a sense of pride and connection in helping to welcome newcomers into the community.
“Although technology with no human connection offers little, technology that’s used to directly enable human connections can make a world of difference—especially to those enduring isolation and loneliness. That’s why all Connected Canadians’ programming has improved human connection as it’s driving force. Our mission is based on the simple truths that people need other people and that digital literacy is essential for engagement in today’s world.”
Emily Jones Joanisse, CEO, Connected Canadians