Senior Centers Connect Residents to Technology

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Laptops, smart phones, iPads and other  electronic devices: Richard Limongi, CEO of Shepherd of the Valley, says people would be amazed at how many of his residents possess these devices.

To help them get the most out of their devices, the senior care company brought Boardman Schools technology teacher Tim Harker to its Poland campus Dec. 7. Harker shared his knowledge with 20 residents that day.

Limongi says the plan is to bring instructors to Shepherd’s Boardman, Liberty and Howland sites as well.

“The ultimate goal is to help empower our residents, help them communicate with their loved ones, whether it be through video or text, and also understand other online resources such as grocery or online shopping,” Limongi says.

Teaching seniors about technology is one of the many new programs senior care centers offer their residents – and seniors who live at home.

With Shepherd’s home health agency, At Home With Shepherd, Limongi says his company wants to provide more resources to those going through short-term recovery after surgery, illness or accident.

He cites Steady Steps, a program that reduces risks of slips and falls, and aids those who recently endured such a mishap. It provides an analysis of potential hazards in the home.

At the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation’s Levy Gardens, residents are learning how to use a recently-purchased virtual reality headset. The product was funded through the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board for Senior Outreach.

Jewish Family & Community Services Outreach Coordinator Lynne Azar showed residents the new equipment Dec. 13.

“The system allows us to assist seniors with isolation, depression and their overall mental health through various programming available with the service,” says Ken Bielecki, executive director at Jewish Family & Community Services. “It allows the user to experience travel, get 360 views of landmarks all over the world, has meditation programs and more.”

At Windsor House, a five-minute survey explores activity and care options for residents of its senior centers. The company offers virtual tours of its 17 centers in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“We have spent a lot of time from a digital standpoint having resources available for our prospective residents and families,” says Dan Rowland, director of marketing.

Windsor House will offer a physical therapy program in 2022 called Inspire, with treatment focused on pulmonary function in patients diagnosed with bronchitis, COVID-19 or other lung-related issues.

“It’s an involved therapy program that we’re in the process of rolling out to our nursing homes,” Rowland says.

Pictured at top: Margaret Grace and Martha Taylor, residents at the Poland campus of Shepherd of the Valley, learn how to use electronic devices at an instructional session.