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Older People exploit technology to combat lockdown loneliness

Older people living within the ExtraCare Charitable Trust’s twenty retirement communities have been offered a lifeline to tackle lockdown loneliness thanks to a generous charitable donation from Total Integrated Solutions Ltd (TIS).

TIS, who provide life safety, security and communications systems, has enabled ExtraCare, a registered charity that exists to create better lives for older people, to install high-speed Wi-Fi across its 20 villages and schemes to benefit more than 4,000 residents.

During the past year – during lockdown especially – older people have had less opportunity for face-to-face socialising with family and friends, even GP consultations are now often only possible via video or phone.

The high-speed Wi-Fi will allow residents – who are on average 82 years old – to exploit the benefits of digital technology that those of a younger age have relied on this year to feel connected and combat loneliness during these unprecedented times.

Jean Humphries, aged 81, has lived at New Oscott Retirement Village in Birmingham for over ten years. She has been using zoom and WhatsApp video call during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep in touch with family and friends. She has had a video call with her daughter every evening since lockdown began: “I come from a close-knit family. I usually see all of them, all the time. So, it is very hard. It really is. Technology certainly does help the loneliness. It doesn’t cure the loneliness, but it helps. It’s better to see the faces of your loved ones, even if you can’t hug them. It will help your loneliness.”

Henriette Lyttle-Breukelaar, Executive Director Marketing and Innovation comments: “The generosity will make a real difference to our charity and residents. The use of digital technology allows us to deliver our vision to create better lives for older people as it helps our residents to continue living as independently as possible, while providing them with the equipment to support and meet their care and lifestyle needs.

“By installing Wi-Fi across our locations, we can provide our older people with the digital means to avoid the feelings of isolation that so many of us have experienced this year. Technology can tackle loneliness in many ways through helping residents to communicate with friends and family and participate in online activities such as quizzes and fitness classes.”

James Twigg, Managing Director and Executive Team Chair at TIS comments: “We have been supporting the ExtraCare Charitable Trust for over nine years by ensuring their critical life safety and security systems are compliant and well maintained. The relationship is a pleasure to be a part of as it is a true partnership that benefits from both organisations striving for continuous improvements to ensure their residents receive exceptional care 24/7.

“We are extremely proud to be able to further support our continued relationship by funding this amazingly thoughtful and life enhancing endeavour. It has been a very difficult year for the entire country but none more so than the elderly and to know we are helping them keep in touch with their friends and family is beyond words.”