Rainycrest residents learning to surf web

Heather Latter

And many more
computer skills
FORT FRANCES—Residents at Rainycrest Long-Term Care here have the opportunity to surf the web, e-mail, or create documents by learning to use computers with the help of Barb MacDonell.
Now working as an independent consultant, MacDonell has spent two-three days each week for the past three years at the computer with residents.
Two of those years were spent working through the Valley Adult Learning Association.
“What I do there is give the residents who wish the opportunity to be involved in using the computer and for appreciation, enjoying, and activation,” MacDonell explained, noting it is a service provided to residents by Rainycrest.
“It’s just one more interest to bring forward to residents,” said Heather Hudson, the activation co-ordinator at Rainycrest.
“Everyone is using computers now and the residents here can, too.”
MacDonell said it’s not necessarily about the residents learning computer skills, but about them staying active and doing something enjoyable.
“Everyone has a different thing they like to do while using the computer,” she noted. “Some people are pretty high functioning, but might have a physical challenge to using the computer.
“Other people are not so high functioning and yet it’s something we can sit together and just look at things on the Internet or play games.
“It’s more of a stimulation,” she reiterated. “In years gone by, they might have been using other things to stimulate mind and body and now we’re also using the computer.”
While MacDonell noted when she started the program, she had the idea that the residents were going to be Skyping and talking to their families, that hasn’t been the case.
“We’re doing some other things and just going with the flow,” she remarked. “I work through programs with some of the residents, usually to do with word processing, producing documents about themselves.
“And I have a couple people who have their own computers and I help them with their projects.”
Still, Hudson said the computer has been a beneficial tool in bridging families who are separated by distance.
“They can look at pictures of their family members and keep in contact by e-mailing,” she explained. “It’s better than a phone call because it gives them something to see.”
Hudson noted other residents use the Internet to look at things that interest them, such as the country they are from.
“They have used Google Earth to see where they used to live,” she said. “It’s overwhelming at first, but can be really neat for them.”
Hudson stressed having use of the computer—and someone to help them with it—gives the residents something new to do, something else to reach for, to learn.
“It’s been a really beneficial program and one we hope to keep available for residents,” she added.
And in working with the residents at Rainycrest, MacDonell said she really enjoys being able to assist them with whatever it is they want to use the computer for.
“It’s been one of the best experiences of my life,” she enthused.
(Fort Frances Times)