This past month we began our period of social isolation due to the novel coronavirus – in order to protect our elderly community. Even though our seniors cannot be present physically at the Heliopolis Elderly Center we decided to begin an external agenda in which all of our classes and meetings continue to happen online via phone applications and virtual meeting rooms.
Each day of the week there is a teacher responsible for sending a video with suggestions, activity guidelines and positive messages to the elderly in the Old Friend Group, where we have 70 elderly women. The IT and Literacy teachers have created groups with the participants of their workshops to pass on activities to practice at home.
The Executive Director of the Heliopolis Elderly Center also implemented a ‘virtual coffee hangout’ strategy for conversations with the elderly through videos and meeting hangout apps. In order for this to occur the team then built a tutorial for videoconferencing in order to teach the elderly how to enter the app (GotoMeeting) in order to hold a ‘virtual coffee hangout’ with the educators.
Individual meetings were held by GoToMeeting with Anne the Literacy Educator to align the work in the group via WhatsApp and testing for the Video Conference via GotoMeeting. During the week, guidance was sent via WhatsApp in the group and audio interactions with the elderly to see how they were doing. There were reports that they were physically well, sad to be at home unable to leave, and missing their teachers and colleagues.
It is important that we help our seniors continue to stay active during this period. Our group is determined to continue organizing senior-centric activities and deliver their programs and activities online so that seniors can continue to participate in the comfort of their own home. We thank GlobalGiving and all those who have helped our program continue during this difficult time.
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