Care home residents to stay connected with loved ones thanks to council donation

Hundreds of isolated care home residents across Stockport are now able to keep in touch with their loved ones thanks to Stockport Council's donation of state-of-the-art tablets.

Care home residents to stay connected with loved ones thanks to council donation

The council took the decision to issue tablets to every care home in the borough after recognising that face-to-face visits from families had been restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Amongst the hundreds to have benefitted so far is Nora Holtom, 101, who is a resident at Ashbourne House Care Home in Gatley. Nora, who had not seen her family for over eight weeks, has now been able to speak to her family since the arrival of the tablet last week, including her granddaughter Keely who lives far away in South Africa.

Nora said: "It was very special to see her again, especially as she used to fly over every year but now the flights have been stopped, she cannot travel. It was very magical to not just speak to her, but to see her too, it made me so very happy."

Keely added: "It was so special and emotional to see my grandma again. I haven't seen her since we celebrated her 100th birthday together, so it meant the world, especially living so far away."

Another resident to benefit at Ashbourne House is Edith Broome after she got to celebrate her 93rd birthday with her family via the tablet.

Edith said: “It made my Birthday as I have not seen my son, daughter in law or grandchild since the start of my isolation so it was absolutely fabulous."

Edith’s son, Malcom, added: “I’m so thankful for enabling my family to see my Mum over a video call, it was a truly wonderful experience in these challenging times.

“It’s obviously difficult to maintain contact whilst being in lockdown, and while most of my family are fortunate enough to live locally to peer through a window to see my Mum, my family and I are 200 miles away, so the video call is amazing for us and most of all, it absolutely thrilled my Mum too.”

Martin Sorrell, Manager of Ashbourne House Care Home, said: "Ashbourne House has embraced the use of technology since we have been forced into isolation by Covid-19.

"We have had the use of SKYPE for some time, but our old antiquated android tablet was unreliable and unfortunately too old to accept a google upgrade making it slow and subject to breaking up and failing.

"Since the arrival of our new tablet, thanks to Stockport Council, we have further advertised the use of technology to Ashbourne House friends and family and have fully embraced WhatsApp, which allows full families to virtually meet and chat to their loved ones.

"It still amazes me that people from all over the world have been able to reconnect. I think at this time of great uncertainty, families need to reconnect, and this has been a great tonic for residents and relatives alike.

"Residents have connected with friends and family from all over the world, including a brother from Canada, grandchildren from South Africa and friends from Spain."

Martin added: "On a technical note, the addition of the 4g resource is vital, as although our home has Wifi we are an adapted home with thick walls and rooms far from the router, so the addition of the 4g is a great aid to a better connection."

Cllr Jude Wells, Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Health at Stockport Council said: "The ability to connect with loved ones during these difficult times is vital for everyone and we hope it will provide families with some comfort.”

Councillor Kate Butler, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focus and Engagement added: “As a radical digital council, this is just one of the many ways we continue to embrace digital technology to improve the lives of our residents.

“A key part of our digital inclusion efforts with care homes is the work with our Digiknow partners and digital champions to ensure the appropriate support is there for our residents as they embrace this technology.”

For more information on doing things online, visit https://www.stockport.gov.uk/topic/doing-things-online. For help getting online and for support with digital issues ring 07537 127095.