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Monday, October 02, 2017

Toronto Program Coaches Family Caregivers 55+ to use Technology to Access Health Information, Communication and Social Connections

The Reitman Centre’s Social Network Groups for family caregivers 55+ have been running in the Toronto area since September 2016 with funding from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Senior Program. Social Network Groups help family caregivers 55+ feel less isolated by building caregiver confidence and comfort in using tablet technology to connect with family and friends, online health information and resources, and social media for caregiver support.

To date, three community health partners in Toronto have hosted this program with another three programs starting later this month. The Reitman Centre partners with Tech Coaches to implement Social Network Groups to ensure the highest level of expertise, support and encouragement. Each group has a maximum of 4 caregivers per coach, which is well below the average of similar programs. A unique feature of the Social Network Group is that each caregiver is able to borrow an Android tablet from weeks 3-8 so that they can practice what they learn and explore online health resources in their own home.

A recent Social Network Group participant provided the following feedback on their experience. “It felt so good to be part of a small group and to have individual attention in learning technology. The method of teaching and learning was wonderful. The online resources on the tablet were also invaluable.”

Family caregivers 55+ who feel isolated or are at risk of becoming isolated are encouraged to register for one of the upcoming Social Network Groups in Toronto which are listed on Healthline calendars for Mississauga-Halton, North York and Toronto Central.

Rexdale Hub, starts Monday October 16th at 9:30 am
Eatonville Library, starts October 19th at 12:30 pm
Bernard Betel Centre, starts Friday October 20th at 9:30 am

For more information about hosting a Social Network Group for family caregivers 55+ in your community, please contact Cheryl Miller, Project Manager, Social Innovation and Training Programs at the Reitman Centre Cheryl.miller@sinaihealthsystem.ca
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