In today’s installment of Social Good Sunday, I want to share how my good friend, Cherie Tripp Lejeune is enlivening seniors and making their golden years just a little more “social” with tech.
Cherie works with seniors in several assisted living facilities and care facilities where seniors often are just marking time until their next meal or a rare visit. Time just drags on for them and, instead of enjoying their lives, they’re isolated.
Cherie brings laptops and tablets to them. At first, many are resistant. Cherie likens it to an antique car that’s been parked in a garage too long. When you try to start it, it just coughs and sputters before you can finally get it started.
In this video, she shares her experience with a woman initially resistant to using Cherie’s tablet. She approached the device like it was a snake or something that would hurt her if she just touched it. But, wise Cherie got her to connect to her past and her passions with the device; first showing her connections with the local political scene (which, a stone’s throw from the seat of power is a perennial obsession for many locals) then showing her Berets, of which she is very fond.
Patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s who are mentally engaged, retain their skills and ability to live independent longer.
Cherie also tries to keep residents physically active, which reduces their dependence on wheelchairs and walkers. Physical activity similarly reduces health issues and improved mental outlook. Cherie uses inducements to get residents up and moving. For instance, she bought coupons for free ice cream cones at a local shop. Residents earned a coupon by walking a couple of laps in the hallways.
Cherie’s efforts not only help seniors, but society, as well. Active, engaged seniors are healthier, requiring less expense on healthcare and they’re able to remain independent longer, which reduces costs for residential facilities.
Cherie’s goal is to two-fold. She hopes to spread her message about enlivening seniors to caregivers in a program she calls “Train the Trainers”. She also hopes to inform politicians who waste taxpayer money on programs designed to treat conditions in seniors rather than train them to help themselves. For instance, she talked about a program which brought Skype into facilities so patients to “visit” friends and family members. However, when the folks left or the program ended, the patients were back where they started. Cherie advocates for providing digital devices (adapted to the special needs of seniors) and teaching them not only how to use them, but how much value they create for the senior.
Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats everyday
That’s the notion underlying Cherie’s approach to enlivening seniors with tech.
Social good Sundays
I hope you enjoy today’s installment of social good Sunday. If you know someone using digital to do social good, I’d love to hear about it. Please send information and links to firstname.lastname@example.org.