WHEN Age Friendly Limerick says “we have a tablet for that” they don’t mean a little bottle of pills.
More than 30 older people from across County Limerick have been presented with special electronic tablets as part of a programme to reduce incidents of social isolation and open up a new world of communication.
Age Friendly Limerick, which is co-ordinated by Limerick City and County Council, in partnership with Cliffrun Media are delivering the project aimed at reducing levels of social isolation among older people, through the use of the Acorn Tablet.
The Acorn is a specialised tablet, tailored to address the needs of seniors in a closed secure network. It opens up a world of relevant online content for seniors, encouraging users to engage and interact at both social and commercial level. Its design is built around five content and application pillars: independence, health, finance, communications and security.
And its ease of use will be welcomed by anyone who is not particularly familiar with on-line technology.
The interface is simple to navigate, provides easy access to a help button as well as providing remote technical assistance when required.
A user can start with only one or two apps loaded and, over time, additional elements can be added according to the users individual preferences.
The idea is that by becoming connected to what’s going on in their area, older people will be better able to attend local events or ask for a lift. It will also make it easier to do their online banking, or pay a bill.
And they can connect with their children, friends or family members living abroad through Skype
A major element of this project will be engagement between the older people and Transition Year students from Desmond College in Newcastle West.
Five intergenerational workshops will connect old and young and provide an opportunity for the younger people to support the older people in the use of technology.
Deputy Mayor Michael Collins said: “In a world which is becoming more technology driven, it is important that we support and encourage our older citizens in embracing the digital world. It is fantastic that we are using technology to help make people fell less isolated.”
Age-Friendly Limerick Programme Manager Anne Rizzo, said that the Acorn is a very user friendly tablet, designed to open up a world of digital services for older people and is aimed at encouraging social inclusion, putting people in contact with others in their community and helping them to avail of services and information not otherwise easily accessible to them.
Funding has been provided by the Department of Community and Rural Affairs covering the cost of the tablets, including sim card and technical backup for the duration of the programme trial period.