One of the biggest challenges of residents in an assisted living facility is a sense of disconnectivity from their family and loved ones.
"There is study after study that indicates that social isolation effects seniors mentally, emotionally, and even physically. Decline is exacerbated with seniors who are not connected, even if it is a perceived isolation," said Lisa Wainwright, community liason at Somerby Assisted Living in Santa Rosa Beach.
But while the rest of the world stays connected via their smart phones, seniors in assisted living facilities seldom know how to use them to stay connected.
This is why Wainwright was thrilled when she was recently presented with a proposal by public relations professional Laura Holloway that could help Somerby residents and have a big impact on their lives.
"In the past four years I have started seeing my grandparents having health problems and realized they are not able to get about like they used to," said Holloway. "When I met Lisa Wainwright I was blown away by their facility. It occurred to me that all people living in that facility need a way to communicate with their family. They need to be able to stay social."
Holloway offered to go into Somerby once a month and hold monthly workshops to teach basic social media skills to the residents.
Wainwright gratefully and enthusiastically accepted.
Holloway then reached out to the FPRA board and asked if anyone would be interested in joining her and coming on as mentors to partner with residents and do this in their own time to develop a friendship and educate on social media.
Several accepted the challenge.
The group of volunteers will hold their first meeting for the core group and team on Sept. 20. The first workshop is scheduled in early October. Holloway has branded the project #Golden Social.
"This is the genesis of something that is going to be huge for our residents," said Wainwright. "When I met Laura she told me she had just returned from visiting her grandfather in Mississippi and she showed him what he could do on his iPhone and he was blown away. She said she couldn't do it with him every day, but wanted to do it with our residents once a month. A lot of our residents want to do it but get discouraged. It has real potential. I'm so honored that she chose us to pilot the program. The majority of our people can do this. This will be huge for them and for their feeling of connectivity to the world."