CONNECTT - Helping Seniors with Technology During COVID-19

26 May CONNECTT - Helping Seniors with Technology During COVID-19

What happens when energetic local students assist seniors with technology and social engagement during social distancing?

Steps Home Care clients will now access The CONNECTT program, a collaborative effort between the Greenwich Commission on Aging (GCA) and The Center for Public Good at Greenwich Country Day School (GCDS).  CONNECTT stands for Connecting Our Neighbors Naturally Enriching Community Through Technology.

GCDS already had an established program where students visited the Greenwich Senior Center to provide 1-1 personal technology assistance to older adults.  Immediately after the stay-at-home orders were announced, GCDS students knew they had to find a way to continue with their technical help, which was now more important than ever. GCDS faculty reached out to GCA and pitched their idea to adapt their program to an online platform.

CONNECTT is available to all.  Link here for the CONNECTT program.

“Two months into social distancing and the GCDS CONNECTT has blossomed into an engaging and innovative program. In addition to our students assisting seniors with technology challenges, the senior center has also planned and managed online programming including trivia, chair yoga and COVID-19 updates with the 1st selectman,” said Jen Donnalley, Director of the Center for Public Good and GCDS faculty.  

According to Lori Contadino, GCA Director, “Social distancing does not mean socially disconnecting. CONNECTT not only brings people together for meaningful programs, but most importantly brings people together, which we all need. It also provides structure and a sense of routine to a persons day.”

On Mondays, participants can get help with technology issues. On Friday mornings they can tune in and join chair yoga with 9th grader Denisa Neza.  Denisa, a student at the new GCDS High School, took part in the new January session where students choose an intersession course to take a deep dive into a topic of interest.  Denisa chose to study Empathizing with the Elderly.  When the COVID19 issue arose she immediately came forward asking how she could help the local seniors.

“Denisa took what she learned during our GCDS Intersession and immediately put it into action.  This has been a beautiful partnership and we look forward to watching it grow long after the pandemic is over,” added Jen.

An example of a unique and entertaining CONNECTT activity is Armchair Travel. Travel in your imagination to the countryside of central Turkey, a Japanese noodle shop, or a train car traveling across Russia. Join as you hear unforgettable stories about our beautiful world.

CONNECTT is available to all.  Link here for the CONNECTT program.

Additionally, CONNECTT is offering one-on-one opportunities to check in:

Daily Phone Calls From a Friendly High School Student 

The Greenwich Commission on Aging is collaborating with Greenwich High School, under the stewardship of Headmaster, Ralph Mayo, to connect high school students with older adults in our community that would like to receive a regular friendly telephone call. 
The need for daily socialization, social interaction and connection with others has never been more important than now.  Practicing “social distancing” doesn’t mean that we have to be “socially disconnected!” 
If you are an older adult interested in receiving a regular call to connect, chat and check-in, please call Sharon Wilson at 203-554-2780.

Get Technology Help
For older adults who need free, basic, one-on-one help with their computer, smartphone or laptop, they can sign up and a Greenwich Country Day School volunteer will contact them to assist. Email or call (203) 863-5653.

To CONNECTT to a free live session:

On your desktop or laptop, 10 minutes before the scheduled session, go to this Zoom link: 

On your smartphone or tablet- first, download the free Zoom app from the App Store. 10 minutes before the scheduled session, go to this Zoom link:   

On your phone: Call (929) 205-6099 and enter 3032051305#

If you have questions or need help, email or call (203) 863-5653. Leave your name and phone number and they will call you back.