A total of 250 iPads are being programmed especially for seniors living in care centers across Broward County, as part of Heart2Heart’s expanded C.A.R.E. Tech program.
So far, 12 care centers have claimed a total of 60 iPads for their residents. Last month, Heart2Heart gave its first presentation of the program to a group of seniors at The W Assisted Living at Pompano Beach. The residents’ excitement and happiness for the iPads was priceless, said Marisela Martinez, Heart2Heart’s digital outreach coordinator.
One senior asked with tears in his eyes: “Am I seriously going to be able to see my daughter’s face?”
The iPad program is the second time Heart2Heart has helped seniors connect to their loved ones with technology. In 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, Heart2Heart used a grant to donate Amazon Fire tablets to seniors at care centers and isolated at home.
Allie Eubanks – a life enrichment coordinator at one of the care centers that received the tablets – told Heart2Heart how she introduced the tablets to the residents. One woman in particular had visited her daughter, who lived in a group home facility, once a week without fail for the last 20 years. However, during the pandemic, she was cut off from those visits and didn’t see her daughter for a whole year.
Allie was able to coordinate with the other center and arrange a video call between mother and daughter.
“When I told her, she burst into tears,” Allie wrote. “Upon arriving at her apartment to start the chat, I was greeted with the biggest smile I have ever seen. She was so anxious and excited to see her baby girl.”
A total of 30 Heart2Heart volunteers have signed up to be digital volunteers, committed to video calling at least two seniors per week from their own devices. Digital volunteers will be paired with residents whom the centers have identified as lonely or without regular visitors. Already, digital volunteers have begun making connections to their assigned residents with weekly phone calls.
The iPads will allow care center residents to do more than make video calls to friends, family or Heart2Heart volunteers. Heart2Heart has partnered with Nova Southeastern University and Broward County Library to provide residents at the care centers receiving the iPads with library cards. The library cards will open access to apps like Flipster, Kanopy, and Hoopla, giving residents a nearly endless supply of books to read or listen to, as well as magazines, newspapers, movies and tutorials to teach them new skills.
Marisela said she is excited that Heart2Heart will be able to facilitate important connections, reunions and enrichment for seniors.
“We’re in the programming phase right now,” she said. “But we will be ready to deliver the new iPads very soon!”
The iPads will be owned and managed by Heart2Heart with the help of Jamf and BFA Technologies. At least five iPads will be delivered to each care center, to be used as needed by the residents. Larger care centers may receive more iPads, depending on their need.
To become a Heart2Heart digital volunteer, start here. For more information about the C.A.R.E. Tech program or to sign up your care center, call Marisela at 954-315-2218.