Virtual programming and device lending: Are there any resources available on loaning devices to seniors for participating in virtual programs?

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Are there any resources available on loaning devices to seniors for participating in virtual programs?

Question

I would like help with finding resources on devices being lent to seniors for the purpose of virtual programs.

Our answer

Across the world many libraries, community organizations and seniors residences have begun to lend devices to seniors to keep them entertain, connected with loved ones and engaged in virtual programming. Expanding from books music and videos, libraries have been a leader in technology lending programs for years.

In BC we have seen communities and business donating devices to keep vulnerable community members connected. BurnabySaanich Peninsula North Shore, and Maple Ridge have begun to supply devices to seniors to keep them connected. Telus in Vancouver and Shaw in Calgary have made device donations to combat social isolation. This is likely to continue as the Minister for Seniors has “announced flexibility for organizations under the New Horizons for Seniors Program.” The new flexibility allows for providing devices and starting virtual programming.

Providing seniors with devices and support helps to ensure better participation in virtual programs. The documents below provide some insight on what this might look like:

  • This article on the Technology Lending Library Pilot Program by Wayne Senior Centre provides a background their program to bring programming to ”low tech” seniors in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Senior Centers Connect by the National Council on Aging is a document containing examples and lessons from senior centres from how they have adapted their programming throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The section that begins on page six, titled Senior Centers Virtual Programming, shares real examples of programming adapted for seniors at various levels of technology readiness.

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