Jackson House and Thompson View Lodge in Ashcroft are among 12 care homes in the Thompson, Nicola, and Okanagan regions to receive $1,700 each by winning Interior Savings’ Care Home Connection Contest.
The contest invited non-profit and health authority-managed care homes in the region served by Interior Savings to submit an entry in the random draw. The initial contest was for 10 grants of $1,700 each, in order for the winners to purchase tablets and accessories to help residents stay connected with family and friends. However, the number of prizes was increased to 12, in order to get more tablets into more care homes.
With many restrictions placed on visitors to care homes, in order to keep residents safe and stop the COVID-19 virus from spreading, it has been difficult for many residents to remain in touch with loved ones. At the end of 2020, Interior Savings had money left in its Community Investment Fund, and decided to quickly organize the contest in order to provide the technology to help bridge the communications gap safely and keep people connected.
“We know this year has been very challenging,” says Kathy Conway, CEO of Interior Savings. “We’re so appreciative of the care and commitment that our frontline workers have shown.
”It was evident from the heartfelt entries just how important the well-being of those in their care is. It was also evident that tablets are of great need in our local care homes.”
Ponderosa Lodge in Kamloops was another winner, as were care homes in Kelowna, Clearwater, West Kelowna, Vernon, and Chase.
Conway says that the tablets were something that would have an immediate and meaningful impact in care homes.
”With restrictions on travel and social contacts, many families are turning to online video platforms like Zoom or FaceTime to connect. We wanted to help ensure residents in care homes also had the opportunity to connect, and one of the best ways to do that was by helping to get more tablets into care homes.
She adds that they had a “lovely” application from Tami Jones, Community Manager at Thompson View Lodge Assisted Living in Ashcroft, which she has permission to share. In answer to the questions “Please tell us how you would put this equipment to good use and what impact receiving this grant would have on your organization and those in your care?” Jones wrote:
”We could definitely use this equipment for multiple purposes. We would be able to connect our residents with their family members near and far. It would be so wonderful for them to be able to see and talk to them rather than just speaking on the phone. There is so much lost without the face to face, as it is a powerful connection.
“We would also be able to utilize this to access entertainment: local events, shows, movies. Receiving this grant would assist our organization greatly by allowing us to provide an amazing service that would connect everyone again virtually and create opportunity for better entertainment/socialization.”
“We have recently purchased a projector with a large screen and this is in our dining area, as our activity room is too small for our residents to be together since COVID. The projector has been a wonderful way to bring them together as a way of providing entertainment. They were used to having all kinds of activities and entertainment going on here in the lodge pre- COVID. The addition of a tablet would allow us to expand and bring all types of media to them.”
It is the second time in less than a year that Thompson View has benefited from funding to provide new technology. In January 2020 the Thompson View Manor Society was one of five organizations in the region to benefit from the “Music and Memory” program, which was funded by Interior Savings and Concentra’s “Empowering Your Community” fund. The society received a starter kit that included a set of 15 MP3 music players, headphones, and adapters, as well as a laptop, external speakers, and starter music.
The therapeutic music program allows caregivers to help users create personalized playlists of music to help them reconnect with memories and their loved ones. Music has been identified as having a powerful impact on those living with dementia and other cognitive and physical challenges, and is another strategy caregivers can use to assist the people they care for.