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Touchstone Finalist: Technology and Me at Lighthouse

Updated: October 16, 2020 06:40 PM

Keeping seniors connected to their loved ones and their beloved hobbies is key to living a good quality of life. And that's why the Lighthouse Center for Vision Loss created their Technology and Me program.

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It helps people get connected with the technology that is right for them. It could be an Amazon Fire Stick, that has a microphone button to dictate directions. Or Google Home or Amazon Alexa are helping folks out. 

During COVID, it's proved to be even more of a life saver.

Karleen Schmidt's mother has dementia, and lives in an assisted living facility here in the Northland. COVID kept them from visiting her. "We were struggling to meet the needs of communication and personalization, and socialization, Schmidt said.

Then, the Lighthouse folks helped them get an Alexa Show, and now they can video chat. "It's been a huge help. As far as getting to see her, and know she's there, and I can see how she's doing, versus a phone call," Schmidt added.

Seija Tasaranta lives up on the Range, tucked into the woods north of Virginia. She was diagnosed with macular degeneration, and was having problems doing things like her artwork and sewing and reading.

But thanks to help from the Lighthouse, she was able to learn how to us an iPad to do more things. "I'm so happy, I can call Finland with Skype I can talk to my relatives I can get radio stations. I have Finnish and English books on here."

Plus, Lighthouse connected her with a peer mentor, Julie, who also has vision loss. "She started calling me every week, and now we are good friends," Tasaranta added.

A grant from the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation helped set up the Technology and Me program for long term success.

Success that Tasaranta is so grateful for. "I'm very thankful," she told us. And she added it in Finnish, too!

For more info about the Lighthouse: https://www.lcfvl.org/

Technology and Me is a finalist for a Touchstone Award from the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. The Touchstone Awards are coming up on WDIO on Tuesday, November 17th, at 6:30pm.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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