Caroline Mahony ’21 shares a positive impact within the senior community.
This summer 25 students were accepted in the CSGC grants program. These grants are funded due to the generous support of the Cost, Earle/Mendillo and Workman families, who established endowment funds to support the community and public service endeavors of future generations of Deerfield students. For more information on these grants please visit: https://deerfield.edu/csgc/grants.
COVID-19 has swept through this nation and caused great changes in the lives of all citizens, but seniors residing in nursing homes have been left particularly vulnerable. Because of this, in-person visitation to most nursing homes has been severely limited to allow for social distancing. The absence of most in-person visits from friends and family has left many seniors feeling especially lonely and isolated.
Two months ago, I was on a hike with my friend Emily, and after discussing this issue, we decided that we wanted to do something that would improve the lives of these isolated seniors. During the month of May, we worked to create a website, GoFundMe, and Redbubble page with a dual goal of raising money to provide technology to disadvantaged seniors in nursing homes while also spreading positive messages. We call our project Distanced Positivity to both acknowledge the necessity of social distancing during this difficult time, and the necessity to stay positive and hopeful for the future. Emily and I started Distanced Positivity to make tablets capable of video chat available to seniors in nursing homes in our local community, so they can stay connected with their families, friends, and communities while minimizing in-person visits.
Using funds raised through GoFundMe and supplemented by the generous CSGC grant I received from Deerfield, Emily and I have been able to purchase 17 tablets so far!! On June 9th, we donated 7 Amazon Fire tablets to RegalCare, a nursing home in New Haven, CT. We were greeted by RegalCare’s administrator and recreation director, who were elated to receive these tablets. Ms. Lovell, the recreation director, told us that some of the residents might even be able to play chess on the tablets or draw in addition to video chatting with family members.
On June 29th, we dropped off 10 more Amazon Fire tablets to Cassena Care in Norwalk, CT. We met with the assistant administrator who informed us Cassena Care only had 2 iPad’s that were being used to video chat with family members, and that the 10 donated tablets would greatly increase the number of residents who would be able to video chat with family members and friends. For both donations, we also created and included a short instruction packet on how to navigate and use the video chat features of the device to make using the tablets as simple a process as possible.
I am so grateful that the CSGC has made it possible for Distanced Positivity to have a greater impact on the lives of seniors in nursing homes in my local community. Nothing can truly replace in-person face to face interaction, but the introduction of these donated tablets to nursing homes will allow seniors to see the faces of their families and friends while they talk to them, which is powerful in itself.