Under coronavirus pandemic protection measures, nursing homes were forced to severely restrict family members' and volunteers' visits. Social contacts and socializing, which have always played a key role in the daily lives of the residents of nursing homes, have given way to a huge sense of loneliness and isolation, which is especially difficult for them and their families at this pre-Christmas time. Aware of this problem, Hrvatski Telekom, in cooperation with the Volunteer Center Zagreb, has launched a national digital education program for the elderly. In the first phase of the Program, which is part of a broader socially responsible concept, "In Good Hands", Hrvatski Telekom donated tablets and free internet for 14 nursing homes throughout Croatia. Next year, the Program will include additional homes.
The first institutions that became part of HT's digital education program are: Dom umirovljenika Osijek, Dom Buzin, Dom za starije i nemoćne osobe Trešnjevka, Dom za starije Maksimir, Dom za starije osobe Medveščak, Dom za starije osobe Centar, Dom za starije osobe Dubrava, Dom za starije osobe Ksaver, Dom za starije osobe Park, Dom za starije osobe Sveti Josip, Dom Mali Kartec, Dom za starije i nemoćne Lovret, Dom za starije i nemoćne osobe Sveta Ana, and Dom za starije i nemoćne osobe Split.
Members of the Hrvatski Telekom Volunteer Club will prepare easy-to-understand educational videos to teach senior citizens how to use various digital tools that will allow them to be connected and in constant contact with their families and friends. In the first video education, residents of 14 nursing homes in the City of Zagreb will learn how to establish WhatsApp video calls on their tablets. Educational video materials will be continuously upgraded and will soon be published on Hrvatski Telekom and other interested parties' official channels.
"Digital tools are here to make our lives easier. Unfortunately, many of our senior citizens do not have enough digital skills to use their benefits. That is why we see the digital education program for senior citizens as fulfilling our mission of connecting everyone in Croatia with the possibilities of digitalization and building a world of better opportunities. We want to teach them how to use digital tools like video calls to hear and see their loved ones much more often. At Hrvatski Telekom, we are aware of our important role in ensuring equal access to technology for everyone in Croatia, and we will not stop until we achieve this," said Ivan Bartulović, Chief Human Resources Officer of Hrvatski Telekom.
"The digital education project has recognized a very vulnerable group of citizens during the epidemic and the lockdown - residents of nursing homes, who in these unfortunate circumstances are almost completely cut off from their loved ones. Volunteer Center Zagreb recognizes the value of the project, and we look forward to its positive impact on the quality of life of your residents,"- said Nina Butić Ivanković, Executive Director of the Volunteer Center Zagreb.
We are all aware that nothing can replace contacts and socializing in person. But, thanks to technology, in moments when we cannot be together, we can open the door to the digital world for older members of our society and make their feeling of loneliness and isolation smaller and replace them with connectivity and inclusion.