Hello readers: I rarely us a press release in this space, but due to Covid-19, we are all doing this a little (or a lot) differently. Birdsong is making its online tools free of charge for the time being so I consider this is a terrific chance for older adults to give this service a try. Take care of yourselves! Carol
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. March 26, 2020 -- As older adults nationwide grapple with the isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of curated entertainment experiences and user-friendly video communications tools are being made available for free. The public service is courtesy of Birdsong Tablet, a division of faith-based, non-profit Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay. Anyone can go to the Birdsong Tablet website at https://www.birdsongtablet.com/and create a free account using just a name and an email address. The website works on any technology device; a web browser is all that is needed. No credit card data is taken. The $19 monthly fees are suspended for the web version of Birdsong Tablet to help older adults and their families during this period of social distancing and isolation.
In addition to user-friendly video chat capabilities, Birdsong contains eight thousand different engaging experiences, including curated music, videos, games, travel, and therapeutic content. The vast content has been selected especially for older adults to keep them engaged, entertained and connected to family, friends, and caregivers. The site has the same user-friendly navigation system found on the Birdsong Tablet, which is designed especially for those with limited technology experience, physical, or cognitive limitations. Large picture-based icons, large font sizes, and a permanent home button are just some of Birdsong’s accessibility features. The content is varied to serve and respect all capability levels.
Social distancing and self-quarantines do protect people physically from COVID-19 -- but it also increases social isolation, which is an anathema to wellness. According to a Pew Research study, 27% percent of adults 60 years and older live alone. During a time of national stress, social connection with family and friends is one of the basic ways people deal with anxiety, sadness, loneliness, depression and other emotions.
“As a church-sponsored, faith-based organization with a tool that can help during an extraordinary time of growing isolation, we want to use it to help ease suffering on a global basis,” said Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay President & CEO J. Benjamin Unkle, Jr., noting that the organization has purchased enough Internet cloud capacity to make the free availability possible. “Older adults and their loved ones at home, even those in senior living communities with visitor restrictions, can use video chat to stay connected, giving peace of mind to families. Old episodes of Jack Benny may also make people laugh, which is the best medicine of all.”
About the Birdsong Tablet
Developed by Birdsong, the Innovation Division of Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay, the award-winning Birdsong touch-screen tablet is the gateway to hundreds of hours of engaging content designed especially for seniors, including games, music, movies, television shows, travel documentaries, and so much more. Birdsong is dedicated to creating the best technology experience for aging seniors and is committed to its three core values of affordability, simplicity and engaging content. The first affordable, touchscreen tablet designed specifically for aging seniors earned its name from the groundbreaking Birdsong Research Studies between Westminster-Canterbury, Eastern Virginia Medical School and Virginia Wesleyan University. The objective of the studies was to determine if bedside electronic engagement tablets could both improve the quality of life for older adults while lowering stress for their caregivers. The Birdsong Tablet is named in honor of Sue and George Birdsong who funded the research that created the tablet and software. For more information about the Birdsong Tablet, visit www.facebook.com/BirdsongLife