Area woman launches group to connect seniors with tech in care homes
The Alberta government may be restricting access to senior citizen care homes but Emily Jenks does not want to home (sic) residents stay in isolation. The Spruce Grove citizen recently started Project Joy after discussions with her children about what they could do to help those in the province who need assistance more than others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their focus turned to seniors and after a trip to the Copper Sky Lodge in the city with 12 electronic items they no longer needed, their philanthropic endeavour began to organize and take shape. “To be honest it was never going to be to this scale,” Jenks said. “After we delivered people asked if we had any more and I promised to put the word out. I did and then Jay-Dee Netter of RJ Systems Ltd. in Edmonton contacted me and began helping with the tech aspect. We now have a website, are streamlining devices to make them easy to use and understand and have really grown through some of his contacts.” Netter added they explore a variety of options with care homes such as whether they want multiple tablets for residents or one communal device. He hopes they continue in the future and, while they are in the process of becoming a society, there is still more work to be done. “We are looking at talking directly to Amazon, Google and Apple and seeing what sort of programs we can put together,” he said. “It would be so that a care centre can contact us and we can fill needs with a standardized device and deployment to make that easier for them. This does have legs outside of COVID-19 and we want to get all centres connected preferably on a volunteer or charity basis so it costs nothing.” Jenks is amazed at how quickly the project snowballed. She is proud they have dropoff locations at Perks Coffee House and Jack’s Drive-In in the city and she is deeply moved at the reaction her small action has received from friends, family, the community and those who benefit from it. “Seniors have always had a special place in my heart,” Jenks said. “Being able to hear that they are able to speak to their families after not seeing or hearing from them for sometimes 30 days, so it is amazing to hear their stories when they are so positive and very excited.” More about Project Joy and what they do can be found on their website, projectjoy.ca.