User uShare Login | Register
Login
Register

Along with posting photos, videos, and stories, your uShare account lets you post Classified Ads, recipes on What's For Dinner, and Announcements.


43° View Weather Current Conditions Sioux Falls Change Location
Set Weather Options

RADAR LOCATION

TEMPERATURE LOCATION

KELOLAND.com | Sioux Falls News & Weather, South Dakota News & Weather, Minnesota and Iowa News

[0] My Saved Articles
Find local businesses
on the KELO Pages!

 

Most Popular Today


Connecting To Community

October 7, 2013, 10:02 PM by Hailey Higgins

Connecting To Community
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

An estimated one in five senior citizens is isolated according to a new study from AARP. That means they're separated from family and friends.

While social isolation can cause loneliness, depression, anxiety and other emotional disorders, a new pilot project is helping bridge the gap between older Americans and the people they love.

At the Good Samaritan Society's Creekside Apartments, a group of senior citizens learn how to send an email to the person sitting next to them through an iPad.

"It's frustrating," Sandie Boucher said. "I'm really looking forward to knowing more."

Boucher compares the iPad lessons to learning a new language. The communication is completely foreign to the grandmother.

"This is really an opportunity for us to be able to communicate with my family, they are all at a distance. It's fun but it's frustrating," Boucher said.

The classes are part of the AARP Foundation's Connecting to Community pilot program through the Good Samaritan Society. The first pilot launched in Washington D.C., but organizers wanted to bring it to a more "rural" part of the country.

"It's huge for this area, we are so excited to be apart of it," Stacy Smallfield, USD Associate Professor overseeing the program volunteers said.

Studies show using technology like iPads increases social engagement among older adults. Yet many are unable to take advantage of the benefits because they don't know how to use them.

"We need to keep them engaged members of society and this is one pilot program we are testing to see if it is one successful way of doing that," Smallfield said.

Good Sam recruited University of South Dakota social work and occupational therapy graduate students to teach the participants how to use the iPads, social media and apps.

Betsy Haag helps instruct the 55 seniors enrolled in the pilot program. Older Adults Technology Services, a national organization in New York, came to South Dakota to train the volunteers.

The twice-a-week classes include instruction and a lab, as well as homework for the senior students. It's all in baby steps as to not overwhelm them.

"It's pretty intimidating if you think of their era of growing up and writing letters and receiving letters," Good Samaritan Society President David Horazdovsky said. "That doesn't happen often."

And while they set up their email accounts on the second week of class, at the end of the six week program, they will have social media accounts and know how to video chat.

Classes are happening simultaneously at four Good Samaritan sites in Sioux Falls. If things continue to go well, organizers expect the program to take off across the country.

"That's the exciting part," Horazdovsky said. "We're going to learn and see what scalability there might be."

While it may be difficult at first, Boucher is excited to see where the new technology will take her.

"Well I'll be able to stay in touch and get the family news," Boucher said. "Because they are all at a distance from us."

Organizers say they already have a few standout students who are teaching their classmates how to use the iPads - one of them is in her 90s.

Upon completion of the program, the senior participants will be able to keep the iPads.

Previous Story

Next Story


Comments







 
Find Local Businesses on KELO Pages!

View featured stories

You may also like

Speeders On Sertoma

11/21/2014 10:05 PM

Imagine a stretch of road that's so busy some homeowners have a hard time even backing out of their driveways.

Full Story | Watch
Policing The Reservation

11/20/2014 10:05 PM

The Oglala Tribe's police force on the Pine Ridge Reservation has been cut in half over the past 15 years by federal budget cuts.

Full Story | Watch
Strong Faith And Tough Financial Times For Our Lady Of Guadalupe

11/16/2014 10:05 PM

Gladis Reyes' family's journey to making Sioux Falls home is a path becoming more common.

Full Story | Watch
Eliminating Food Excess In Sioux Falls

11/19/2014 10:05 PM

Local and national partners are a huge asset to food charities, like Feeding South Dakota.

Full Story | Watch
Funding Formula Flaw

11/18/2014 10:04 PM

The long arm of the law in Minnehaha County seems to be getting financially handcuffed lately.

Full Story | Watch


Events