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.”