The community’s efforts to support local seniors have resulted in new iPads and reading material for Grande Prairie Palliative Care Society patients.

Those include around 30 used iPads from Grande Prairie and District Catholic Schools. Superintendent Karl Germann says the move was prompted by calls from colleagues was after reading about the need for technology.

The Grande Prairie Public Library has also provided an online card for each iPad so patients can access a variety of e-resources like books and magazines.

Through his own experience with a family member in palliative care, Germann says the donation should be perfect for local seniors to connect with family through video calls.

“You can actually see how they’re doing and you can talk to them and stay in touch multiple times throughout the day. Especially now that people cant come into the care homes it’s critical that people have face-to-face contact with their family.”

“Often, palliative patients need a lot of care and they can only have small snippets of time [on the phone],” he adds. “By allowing them to have contact through electronic means it at least gets someone kind of in the care home that they’re in.”

The school division’s tech department gathered the underused tech and thoroughly cleaned them over the weekend to have them ready to donate by Monday. It has also donated 1,500 devices to families so students can learn while schools are closed.

Prairie Lakes Seniors Living Site Manager Joanne Freeman and Wellness Manager Hosna Ferdous with newly donated iPads for patients. (Submitted, Hope McNally)

Palliative Care Society Program Director Hope McNally says socializing has been difficult for patients since the province put a ban on visitors going to long-term care centres, hospices, and hospitals. All of the donated iPads will be divided amongst seniors homes in Grande Prairie.

“We took over to the hospice through this donation [and] we took some to Prairie Lakes Seniors living. We have six out so far.”

Staff members have been helping patients learn to use the technology. Mcnally is still looking to get devices to other facilities like Mackenzie Place and the Care Centre.

“I have a smile from ear to ear, yet, there is definitely room to grow.”

The Palliative Care Society is also looking for Google Nest Hubs so patients can use their voice to contact family or access the internet.