The COVID-19 pandemic shook our society on various fronts, but perhaps one of the most impacted populations has been older adults. Many individuals 65+ living in care facilities endured several lockdowns for their health and safety, however these precautionary endeavors ultimately put them at a higher risk for loneliness and social isolation.
Tellegacy, an intergenerational program created to combat loneliness and social isolation among older adults, keeps them connected and engaged through weekly virtual visits with university students. Now in its second phase, the program has grown substantially, tripling their volunteer base and number of senior communities served.
Merrill Gardens, an international senior living community with over 70 locations across the U.S. and in China, partnered with Tellegacy to provide the program experience to one of their U.S. communities. The team at Merrill Gardens wanted to empower their older adults to connect with their Legacy Builders independently, so they introduced the Google Nest Hub. Using this new technology along with introducing a new program after months of cancelled activities and limited visits brought both excitement and questions throughout the Merrill Gardens community. The team at Merrill Gardens took the time to teach each of their older adults that signed up how to use the device and worked with them to ensure they were comfortable with their new setup. The virtual exchanges began soon after and new friendships were made.
George Kievlan, a resident at the Merrill Gardens community shared, “The Tellegacy program was perfect, we had a lot of fun. I could see her, my Legacy Builder, on the Google Hub. And she could see me. I like the Google Hub because I can do the Tellegacy program through it! And connect with a university student weekly this way.”
The virtual face-to-face interaction that Google Nest Hub allows offers an experience beyond words for older adults that have not had the luxury to see their family, friends, and even make new acquaintances throughout the pandemic. Being able to talk with someone, see their emotion, and share stories from their life all from their own room helps lift the spirits of both the older adults and the staff working tirelessly in the senior living communities.
“After George had used his Google Nest Hub for his Tellegacy session, his eyes were lit up and he was smiling as he told me what fun he had,” shared Claire Gaillard, Active Living Program Director. “The Tellegacy Program is like a gentle rain, after a severe drought, that seeds a village dynamic, often gone missing in our society. My deepest gratitude to all who are making it possible. With this program, we are collaboratively changing a cultural norm of agism and disconnection, towards wholeness and interconnectedness. I am grateful for the Tellegacy program specifically because it engages our residents weekly with a youthful and caring presence, who is giving them undivided attention. Our residents feel uplifted after sharing about their lives and meeting a younger person who has the compassion to reach out in this way. After more than a year of extreme isolation, this is infusing a subtle vibrancy into our community. It also helps residents to settle after the mental and physical trauma of such long isolation, one person at a time. From their smiles and laughter, they appear to feel a sense of being accepted and connected in a meaningful way.”
If you are interested in learning more about Tellegacy and what it can do for your community, please contact Dr. Jeremy Holloway at 419-270-7511 today.
Tellegacy is an intergenerational program created to combat loneliness and social isolation among older adults, keeping them connected and engaged through weekly phone or virtual visits with university students. As research shows, loneliness and social isolation can result in long-term negative health outcomes. Tellegacy founder Jeremy Holloway, PhD is determined to change that narrative with his flexible, relationship-oriented, mindfulness, goal-setting and guided imagery curriculum. In partnership with Hayley Studer, CPA, FHFMA, and founder of achi, a holistic care management company that lowers overall expenses by actively engaging people and connecting them to organizations to address the social determinants of health, the infrastructure for Tellegacy was built. To learn more about the Tellegacy program and how it can save lives, visit www.tellegacy.com.