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Simcoe Manor looking for high-tech donations

‘Virtual programming has become really key,’ says long-term care program supervisor
2021-03-05 Edwards JO-001
Mary Edwards, a resident of Georgian Manor in Penetanguishene, does a pet therapy virtual visit with volunteer Joan and her dog Sloan. County of Simcoe-owned long-term care homes are asking the public for donations of technology, including SMART TVs or tablets, to help aid the home in providing a variety of virtual entertainment options to residents in their own rooms.

With most congregate entertainment being put on hold in long-term care homes, a few local homes are hoping to bring entertainment to each individual resident, and they need your help.

Four long-term care homes operated by the County of Simcoe, including Simcoe Manor in Beeton, have put out a call for donations of technology equipment to make sure residents who are quarantined to their rooms can still enjoy some Netflix, YouTube or internet access.

Rosa Athanassoulis, program and support services supervisor at Simcoe Manor, said prior to the pandemic, homes had larger entertainment options coming into the home, including local church or volunteer groups.

“We’ve had to switch how we do programming and be a little bit more creative. Virtual programming has become really key,” said Athanassoulis.

Christina Thorpe runs programming at Georgian Manor in Penetanguishene.

“Prior to the pandemic, we had devices in place, but programming has changed so much since the pandemic has started. We’ve gone from being able to do more large-group-type programming to small groups, or one-to-one programming,” said Thorpe.

Thorpe said ideally, every resident would have a SMART TV, however homes will take any donations they can get, which could include radios, DVD players, other types of televisions or tablets.

Currently, some residents do have these types of devices if the resident’s family has them brought in, but for some families, that option is beyond their means.

“We’re looking for SMART TVs just because of the variety of things it can do,” said Thorpe. “It allows the residents to stay connected to the community. We can do things like virtual volunteering, streaming of local church services, internet browsing, music or movies. There have been periods throughout the pandemic where residents have had to be isolated to their rooms for safety. Our goal is for each resident to have their own device in their room. We would be very thankful for any donation”

Throughout the pandemic, staff have also assisted residents in connecting to each other, for example arranging Skype visits between residents who may have been table mates pre-pandemic, but now haven’t seen each other in person in months.

“We do a Visit-Your-Neighbour program. With our tablets, they visit one another and are able to keep those connections,” said Athanassoulis.

“This would improve the morale of the residents,” said Thorpe.

To arrange a donation for Simcoe Manor, contact the program and support supervisor at Rosa Athanassoulis at 905-729-2267.

Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 11 years of experience to her role as regional reporter for Village Media, primarily covering County of Simcoe matters, education and features
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