Firm's £10,000 wi-fi gift tackles 'lockdown loneliness' at retirement villages in Milton Keynes

Elderly residents 'amazed' to Facetime family at ExtraCare Charitable Trust homes in Shenley Wood and Lovat Fields thanks to Total Integrated Solutions donation

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 1:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 1:04 pm
An ExtraCare resident catches up with family and friends on an iPad thanks to Total Integrated Solutions ltd

A £10,000 donation has helped an ‘independent living’ charity with homes in Milton Keynes install high-speed wi-fi to combat ‘lockdown loneliness’.

Residents at the ExtraCare Charitable Trust’s retirement villages at Shenley Wood and Lovat Fields are “amazed” to be able to have face-to-face video calls with family and friends.

The cash was donated by Total Integrated Solutions Ltd.

Chris Hobbs, 73, who lives at Shenley Wood, says: “The biggest benefit has been being able to keep up with my interests and contacts outside the village. I’m joint leader of a Guide unit, and we have been meeting with the girls weekly since the end of March.

“We have learned about forensic science and CSI, were joined by the deputy leader of Milton Keynes Council to celebrate Parliament Week, and have had a yoga and mindfulness session. All online!

“It has certainly helped their – and our – wellbeing by giving them the opportunity to escape into a different world for an hour.”

Dorothy, aged 77, and her husband, Martin, 85, moved to Shenley Wood last month. The first lockdown had a very detrimental impact on the couple’s mental health. Martin was unable to have any visitors during his hospital stay as a result of a stroke. Relatives were able to speak with him through a window.

Now, as part of their support bubble, their daughter Emma has been able to visit every day. Since moving she has witnessed just how happy they both are now.

“Mum is very sociable, so she’s looking forward to making new friends of a similar age and with common ground. She’s keen to get involved in village life when restrictions are lifted and participate in crafts and woodwork,” said Emma.

“She has an iPad and, although we never Facetimed prior to the pandemic, we now speak via video call a lot – five to six times a day.

“Dad was amazed to be able to see me and have a conversation this way. It is great to see that they have embraced technology 100 per cent.”

Henriette Lyttle-Breukelaar of Extracare said: “By installing wi-fi we can provide our older people with the means to avoid the feelings of isolation that so many of us have experienced this year.”

TIS managing director James Twigg said: “We have been supporting the ExtraCare Charitable Trust for nine years and the relationship is a pleasure to be part of.”