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Press Release: As COVID-19 Isolates Older Adults, Vast Engaging Content & Chat Tools Now Free

As COVID-19 Isolates Older Adults, Vast Engaging Content & Chat Tools Now Free 

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (March 26, 2020) -- As older adults nationwide grapple with the isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of curated entertainment experiences and user-friendly video communications tools are being made available for free. The public service is courtesy of Birdsong Tablet, a division of faith-based, non-profit Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay. Anyone can go to the Birdsong Tablet website at www.birdsongtablet.com and create a free account using just a name and an email address.  The website works on any technology device; a web browser is all that is needed.  No credit card data is taken. The $19 monthly fees are suspended for the web version of Birdsong Tablet to help older adults and their families during this period of social distancing and isolation.    

In addition to user-friendly video chat capabilities, Birdsong contains eight thousand different engaging experiences, including curated music, videos, games, travel, and therapeutic content. The vast content has been selected especially for older adults to keep them engaged, entertained and connected to family, friends, and caregivers. The site has the same user-friendly navigation system found on the Birdsong Tablet, which is designed especially for those with limited technology experience, physical, or cognitive limitations. Large picture-based icons, large font sizes, and a permanent home button are just some of Birdsong’s accessibility features.  The content is varied to serve and respect all capability levels.  

Social distancing and self-quarantines do protect people physically from COVID-19 -- but it also increases social isolation, which is an anathema to wellness. According to a Pew Research study, 27% percent of adults 60 years and older live alone. During a time of national stress, social connection with family and friends is one of the basic ways people deal with anxiety, sadness, loneliness, depression and other emotions.

As a church-sponsored, faith-based organization with a tool that can help during an extraordinary time of growing isolation, we want to use it to help ease suffering on a global basis,” said Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay President & CEO J. Benjamin Unkle, Jr., noting that the organization has purchased enough Internet cloud capacity to make the free availability possible.  “Older adults and their loved ones at home, even those in senior living communities with visitor restrictions, can use video chat to stay connected, giving peace of mind to families.  Old episodes of Jack Benny may also make people laugh, which is the best medicine of all.”  

 
  

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  • You can't cut off your life because of COVID. You have to be careful, but you need to keep living. Westminster-Canterbury makes it easier to do that. Dr. George Franklin, Resident
  • The key to a healthy retirement is to remain active.  The key to remaining active is to live at Westmnster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay! Dick Binford, Resident
  • The best decision I ever made was to move to Westminster! Joan Lottman, Resident
  • I have lived here for almost two years and I absolutely love it! Moving here is the best decision I ever made in my life! My children might not realize it now, but coming here is the best present I have ever given them. Beverly Griffin, Resident
  • A huge thank you to all the Westminster-Canterbury staff for all that they are doing for us during these challenging times! Special thank you to Catering for their off-campus pickups for us! Vera Jean Russell, Resident
  • Thank you for everything you do everyday to keep us happy, healthy and safe!! No place I’d rather be!!️ Shirley Wharton, Resident
  • This is the best possible place for us to be. Brenda Leonhirth Ladell, Resident
  • Thanks for helping take great care of our parents. We miss seeing them, but glad you’re taking every precaution to ensure we’ll get that chance when this blows over! Karen Costenbader Bradley, Family Member of Resident
  • Stone Rehab went over 100% above and beyond expectations! Joan Lottman, Resident, Stone Rehab experience
  • Thanks to Ben Unkle, CEO of Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay for making this [www.birdsongtablet.com] technology available around the world! LeadingAge Virginia
  • The best decision I ever made was coming to WC 6 years ago. Everyone is very professional, they know their job & they do it well. I was healthy and independent 6 years ago when I moved here & now I'm experiencing episodes of back pain that Stone Rehab is helping me with. It's a marvelous place! Joan Lottman, Resident, Stone Rehab experience
  • It’s hard for me to believe that I have not been off campus for almost five months with the exception of three doctor’s visits. Yet, I am perfectly content. I have had the opportunity to leave since March, but continue to choose to stay here where I feel safer and my days can be filled with many of the activities you have provided. Connie Rutledge, Resident

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