Using Claris Companion tablets, Interfaith Community Services was able to increase the online social interactions of older seniors resulting in a twofold increase in their sense of social support.
“Our participants have responded to the program enthusiastically and tell us they love using their Claris Companion tablets to attend coffee hour and read messages.”
Seniors who live alone are vulnerable to social isolation and lack of support. But a home-based caregiving program run by Interfaith Community Services
(ICS) in Tucson, Arizona, was able to significantly increase seniors’ social connectedness, using Claris Companion tablet technology.
Seniors participating in the program saw their level of social support increase to an average rating of 3.5 out of 5. That’s almost double the initial rating of 1.75 for social support they averaged before they started using the tablets.
“Our isolated seniors have enjoyed the program and are truly thankful to have the tablets at their disposal,” said Luke Pearson, senior services coordinator for Interfaith Community Services. “Claris Companion has been essential in our efforts to connect with our seniors in need.”
In a 2021 assessment, ICS determined that more than a third of the seniors enrolled in its caregiving program experienced social isolation and had inconsistent social support. The organization decided to concentrate on seniors who had little to no forms of social support — those who received a rating of 1-2 out of 5. The goal of the program was to use technology to increase each participant’s rating to a score of 3 or higher.
For the technology, ICS selected Claris Companion, an easy-to-use tablet and software solution specifically designed for older seniors. Key features of Claris Companion include built-in 4G/LTE cellular internet service for seniors without access to WiFi; seamlessly integrated messaging, video calling, photo sharing, internet browsing, games, alerts, and more; and Claris Insight, an engagement reporting and data visualization platform that helps staff track how clients are interacting with their tablets at home.
Initially, eight seniors were enrolled in the Caregiving Connection program. Trained volunteers were assigned to deliver the tablets and teach participants how to use them. The program started with a weekly virtual “coffee hour,” where the seniors could use their tablets to meet other participants, volunteers, and staff. These meetings were later increased to six times per week. During the virtual gatherings, participants discuss current events, favorite memories, and other topics. The gatherings have also featured recipe shares, sing-a-longs, and show-and tell.
ICS staff also used the tablets to boost interactions with seniors by sending them messages throughout the day. These include sending a daily quote and video clip, fun facts, trivia questions, as well as messages related to the theme for each day, such as “Meditation Monday,” “Wellness Wednesday,” and “Fitness Friday.” ICS also used the Claris Companion tablets to coordinate a weekly virtual book club.
“Our participants have responded to the program enthusiastically and tell us they love using their Claris Companion tablets to attend coffee hour and read messages,” said Pearson.
Tracking data shows that participants have engaged in more than 5,000 total interactions, participated in almost 3,500 activities, and played more than 1,750 games on their tablets over a seven-month period.
“We are proud to partner with Interfaith Community Services to make the Caregiving Connection program a success,” said Claris Healthcare Chief Revenue Officer Jake Levy. “By using the Claris Companion tablets to increase interactions with participants who normally wouldn’t be able to connect virtually, ICS was able to reduce seniors’ social isolation and increase their well-being.”
With the tablet program’s demonstrated success, ICS plans to continue its Caregiving Connection program through 2022.