Virtual Care Project loans tablets to seniors

Picton Branch of the Prince Edward County Public Library. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

If you or someone in your life is 60+ and curious about using online services, the County of Prince Edward Public Library, in partnership with Community Care for Seniors, can help!

Thanks to a Virtual Care Project, Community Care for Seniors has provided the library with ten tablets which can be used by seniors. These can be used within the library or borrowed like a library book. Dave and Aaron at the library are available to assist no matter what your comfort level is – they have helped many people over the years and are patient and experienced guides. This help is available by appointment at any branch of the library.

“The goal is to address social isolation and encourage seniors to participate in online programs, including those presented by Community Care for Seniors and the Library,” explains Debbie MacDonald Moynes, Community Care for Seniors Executive Director.

Additionally, many medical appointments are being conducted online and these tablets can be borrowed and used for this purpose, which would require an internet connection. If you do not have internet access at home, you can reserve a space in the library or reserve the “Borrow the Internet” WIFI hotspot from the library.

This past year has taught us all about the importance of staying connected to family and friends, even at a distance, seniors can use these tablets to video chat with friends and family across the world with help from the library’s tech help team. We can even arrange all the technical details with your family member, so you just have to show up and be ready to chat!

The library’s recorded Functional Fitness and drumming programs, ebooks, audiobooks and movies can be preloaded onto the tablets so they can be used at home regardless of whether you have internet access. An exciting new use for the internet for seniors is registering for the COVID-19 vaccine. People who are turning 80 or older in 2021, have a green photo health (OHIP) card and have an email address or a support person with an email address can register through the provincial portal, and 60-69 year olds, Indigenous people and individuals with health conditions as outlined by the province can register on Hastings Prince Edward Public Health site to be notified when they become eligible for vaccination. Library staff are prepared to assist with this process using these tablets.

“We recognize how essential it is that no one be left behind in this increasingly digital world,” says Library CEO Barbara Sweet. “Our thanks to Community Care for Seniors for partnering with us to ensure that seniors have access to the devices and technical instruction they need.”

These are just a few of the many ways that seniors can use these tablets. The library also has a few Chromebooks available to be borrowed by any library patron and library staff are available to help with any tech questions.

For more information call Dave or Aaron at the Picton Branch Library (613) 476-5962.

-Liz Zylstra