The COVID-19 pandemic has been an especially difficult time for seniors.
Many are isolated at home, unable to visit with family and friends and participate in activities they once enjoyed.
While the latest technology has changed the way we live and allowed us to easily connect from afar, many older adults are unfamiliar with the latest applications and may feel left behind. As the pandemic highlights the need to shift the delivery of social and education programs in a way that remains safe, Earthwise Society has adapted its popular Garden Buddies program to help seniors stay active and engaged in the community, while at the same time introducing them to the ins and outs of new technology.
Earthwise Garden Buddies is an established gardening together program that was designed to increase physical activity and social connections for seniors by involving them in shared gardening and nature based activities at home and at the Earthwise Garden. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Earthwise has adapted the program to a virtual format that will use digital technology to bring seniors together online to cultivate their green thumbs from a distance.
The Garden Buddies Stay Connected program will pair seniors with a trained Garden Buddy mentor who will reach out to them weekly by phone. The mentors will support the seniors, teach them how to access technology, and introduce them to virtual group meetings where they can interact with other program participants and mentors.
Seniors will take part in online workshops where they will be able to share their love of gardening with others and connect with people of all ages. The workshops will offer do-it-yourself gardening and nature sessions twice a month and will include a monthly garden project kit, delivered directly to seniors that they can build in real time as they attend the workshop.
Studies have shown that increasing access to technology can not only help seniors learn new things, keep them up to date on current events, and increase social networks, but it can also help them maintain cognitive and mental health, improve self-esteem, and decrease feelings of isolation, which is critical in today’s reality.
Earthwise is currently recruiting mentors of all ages, so if you would like to get involved with the Garden Buddies Stay Connected program, please reach out.
A six-week mentor training program will be offered in May and June, and will provide professional insights on supporting seniors and helping them access technology.
To become a mentor, or to participate in the program, email: email@example.com.