Keeping in touch during the holidays

Misericordia resident email replies a first in Winnipeg

Miz email for seniors
Volunteer Marilyn McLeod sends an email for Gladys Sourisseau, who is a resident of the Misericordia Health Care Centre.

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Friday, December 14, 2012

Keeping in touch with far-flung relatives during the holidays can be challenging, especially when loved ones are 80-plus years of age, and living in a long-term care facility.

Volunteers at Misericordia Health Centre found an interesting solution to this dilemma by enabling residents to respond to emails from loved ones around the world.

Take resident Gladys Sourisseau, 85, for example. She congratulates her grandson Duncan, studying at the University of Lethbridge, for achieving 91 per cent on his last test, nd enquires about son Kevin’s new job in New Mexico.

“We send out 50 Christmas cards to friends and family from mom,” says her son Don Sourisseau. “This year, we’re adding the email address in the cards … it’s so easy for the grandchildren to email.”

For years residents could receive emails at Misericordia, but only recently did Misericordia find the right volunteer to craft replies: Marilyn McLeod.

McLeod brings her laptop and transcribes residents’ responses to “a stack” of email.

 “It’s so rewarding,” says McLeod. “The residents can get emotional receiving letters from relatives; I feel privileged to share in their lives. I tell the residents I’m going to send their message right away and their loved ones are probably going to read it that evening.

“Most of them say, ‘My goodness! Is that so?’ They’re so used to snail mail that they can’t imagine communicating this quickly.”

Source: Misericordia Health Centre

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