When the COVID-19 pandemic hit many of us were forced to communicate virtually with our loved ones, but that is not always easy for everyone, including seniors.
SHAMOKIN, Pa. — Joan Tumolo of Shamokin has a smartphone and a tablet, but sometimes she is not sure how to use them.
“Didn’t know what the symbols meant and I was pushing them anyway. I’d push something and think oh God I wrecked it,” said Tumolo.
Recently Joan and other seniors have gotten help with their technology devices.
Partners for a Healthy Community is a non-profit based in Elysburg. It formed in February of 2021 in response to social isolation and loneliness caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’ve done this to help older adults, vulnerable older adults in our community, to really promote their health, physical and mental,” said Kimberly Delbo, Partners for a Healthy Community.
The organization was started by Dr. Houssam Abdul and Kimberly Delbo. They tell Newswatch 16 their mission is to close the digital gap and improve health outcomes among vulnerable seniors.
“We’re seeking to help come alongside of older adults and empower them with the skills that they need to encounter and embrace socially as well as digitally connect with their neighbors as well as their families,” said Delbo.
Volunteers work with seniors weekly at Lincoln Towers in Shamokin. Joan Tumolo feels more confident since working with the group.
“I can video chat with my grandchildren. I can send pictures,” said Tumolo.
Delbo says one of the non-profit’s goals is to provide free internet access to 500 seniors in Northumberland County.
The group is also looking for volunteers and donations including devices.
“If people have new or refurbished technology devices that they’d like to donate to us we’d be happy to take them,” said Delbo.
Check out WNEP’s YouTube page.