As Canadians continue to physically distance, it is more important than ever to stay connected to loved ones. Social connection is a key component of maintaining one’s health and preventing social isolation and loneliness. In times like these, technology can play a significant role in supporting older adults to remain engaged with their family and friends from afar.
To support social connection for those in senior living homes, Best Buy Canada partnered with Google to help residents connect virtually to the people they care about. Through this initiative, Google Nest Hub Max devices were donated to 326 private and public senior living residences across Canada. The Google Nest Hub Max devices were set up in private spaces within the residences to facilitate individual conversations via the Google Duo App (available on mobile and tablet devices).
“The role that social connection plays in the lives of humans is paramount.”
This initiative has helped nearly 40,000 seniors keep connected. Sara Aghvami, director of Best Buy Health, understands the importance of social connections during this time: “The role that social connection plays in the lives of humans is paramount. Seniors around the world have been deeply impacted by COVID-19 and bringing any kind of reassurance and virtual touch into their lives through the use of technology is a rewarding task. Best Buy Canada had the pleasure of partnering with Google to make this happen. It is heartwarming to see family and friends gain comfort in knowing they can see and hear their loved ones from anywhere.”
The Best Buy Canada team enabled the Google Nest Hub Max devices to be used in a shared model and created step-by-step guides for on-site staff so they could seamlessly launch the devices on their own. To make the set-up process easier, Geek Squad Agents provided remote support to ensure the devices were ready to use. Senior living homes are helping to coordinate resident calls with their loved ones. Devices and surrounding areas are disinfected after each use.
Google Nest Hub is a Smart Display with features such as hands-free help from Google Assistant, and apps like Google Photos, YouTube, Spotify, and Google Duo. Devices are compatible with Nest and over 5,000 smart devices from over 400 brands. The large, high-definition screen and the powerful speaker make Google Nest Hub Max an ideal Smart Connection for older adults in residences and in communities.
Residents and staff are already benefiting from the use of the device. One of the staff members says, “This is so wonderful, and we are so thankful to receive this. We set it up in the common area and the residents are loving it to talk to, ask questions, and play music.”
Technology has tremendous potential to improve the lives of older adults, especially those in supported residences. The existence of IT knowledge in senior living homes is essential for the introduction and adoption of technology. However, another key component often overlooked is digital literacy of seniors. For many, new technology may be daunting. As the learning curve continues to grow, technology can help seniors connect and provide them with access to many benefits.
Internet usage for seniors is increasing rapidly. From 2013 to 2016, internet use increased the most from 65 percent to 81 percent for those aged 65 to 74, and 35 percent to 50 percent for those aged 75 and older, according to Statistics Canada. As internet usage continues to increase amongst seniors, organizations like Best Buy are playing an imperative role in equipping senior living residences with technology, providing installation, tech support services, and promoting digital literacy for seniors.
This article has been provided by Best Buy Canada and has been distributed by YouAreUNLTD as a courtesy to keep Canadians informed about the newest innovations, resources, and tools available to help them through the COVID-19 crisis.