Tablets, food bank money rolls out to South Shore seniors, vulnerable populations

by Keith Corcoran

COVID-19 measures designed to help the province's seniors and vulnerable populations that were announced in late March have rolled out to local long-term care facilities and food banks.

In recent weeks, more than 260 iPads were distributed among nearly 60 facilities across the province, a government spokeswoman told LighthouseNOW. "Deliveries are occurring daily until all iPads are delivered," Marla MacInnis said.

"All licenced long-term care facilities are receiving iPads based on their facility size."

As of earlier this month, Harbour View Haven in Lunenburg received 10 tablets, while Shoreham Village in Chester took custody of nine iPads.

The province announced March 27 the Department of Health and Wellness would distribute up to 800 iPads to long-term care homes so residents can connect with family and friends; reporting the tablets would start arriving at facilities in April.

Hillside Pines Home for Special Care in Bridgewater recently had a delivery of about six iPads.

The timing of arrival around the time of Mother's Day was perfect, Hillside Pines' recreation programmer and spiritual coordinator Carla Robichaud told LighthouseNOW.

"The number of iPads we've received will provide more flexibility in arranging family visits," Robichaud said. "Care partners can now simply access another iPad if one is in use, which is great, and an option we did not have before."

Whatever learning curve exists, it's been manageable.

"For some of the elders this is completely new, and watching their response to these virtual visits has been quite rewarding," Robichaud added "It's like opening a new door to them, one many would never have thought to open prior to the challenges we have been dealing with recently. Also, it has enabled some staff who may be less comfortable with technology to become more at ease."

Meanwhile, the Community Food Resource Network in Caledonia, which serves the area between Maitland Bridge in Annapolis County, and Greenfield, Queens County, received $2,500 from the province as part of support for a dozen smaller community food banks.

The Queens County entity was the only one in the Queens and Lunenburg County coverage areas to receive some of the $55,000 announced March 27 by the province.

"Investments ... were based on a number of factors identified by speaking with each individual food bank," Lynette MacLeod, a government spokeswoman, told LighthouseNOW.

"Factors to determine funding include the request from each organization, changes in community demand, current supply, and the volume of clients the food bank regularly serves."

The funding is in addition to the recent $1 million invested in Feed Nova Scotia, she said.

MacLeod encouraged other organizations to reach out if they're in need of support.

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