By Freya Griffin.
When Australia was thrown into a national lockdown at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, integratedliving Australia’s Head of Wellness Business, Amina Ward, was quick to transition her team’s in-person Wellbeing and Activity Centre efforts into virtual programs.
“Continuity of services for our clients during this tough time was our focus from the moment national lockdowns took place, and now we have built a virtual solution with a whole range of resources and tools to offer our clients a choice of how they engage with our wellness services, whether it be purely online, in-person or a hybrid approach,” Ward said.
This year, integratedliving Australia introduced its Virtual Wellness Services to existing and new clients with access to the Federal Government’s Home Care Package funding.
The entry-level foundational program is focused on the basics of digital literacy. Digital Dialogue is an interactive, 14-week program, delivered online in a group setting. Excitingly, each participant receives a brand new iPad at the start of the program, with the offer to keep the iPad upon the successful completion of the course. *
“We wanted to make this experience as seamless as possible for our clients to participate in our services virtually. It made complete sense to us, and our clients, that they start off with the Digital Dialogue program and be equipped with the skills they need to access our other virtual services,” says Ward.
“The practical legacy we are offering is that our clients get to keep the iPad they have just learned to use. There’s no additional costs or shopping necessary. They can focus on the next virtual program they want to participate in.”
Over the course of the 14-week program, clients develop confidence to navigate the internet, use an iPad and a variety of useful apps such as news, weather, podcasts, music and even streaming platforms for movies. Importantly, clients learn how to communicate with family and friends through online phone calls and video chats.
“Our message for older Australians is it’s never too late to improve your digital literacy and become confident with technology. The social connection benefits and access to programs such as our Virtual Wellness Services is fabulous,” Ward said.
integratedliving Australia’s Virtual Wellness Services include Movement Classes, Stretch and Flow, Exercise Physiology, Activity Classes and Let’s Have a Conversation, all relating to wellbeing and enriching the lives of older Australians in their own homes. Other virtual programs run by the organisation include Wellness for Independence® run by allied health professionals. These include Memory Wellness, Foot and Diabetes Wellness, Cardiac Wellness and Nutritional Wellness.
Learning how to use the computer can be daunting as you get older, but for 82-year-old, Des, from the NSW Central Coast, it’s opening up a whole new world.
“At 82 years of age, I entered the Digital Dialogue program with a lot of apprehension. After a few weeks I quickly became fully involved in a very interesting and stimulating program,” he says.
“Involvement in this well-designed course has expanded my level of knowledge. The utilisation of Zoom allows us to have great interaction with other course members, I find this excellent. It is a busy program and I look forward to each week of activities. I am so impressed, I have recommended four friends to enrol.”
If you are already digitally savvy, you may wish to follow integratedliving Australia’s latest community stories on their Live Well Blog by visiting integratedliving.org.au/live-well-blog or searching ‘integratedliving’ in Spotify to find their Live Well Podcast.
For more information on accessing integratedliving’s Digital Dialogue program, visit:
*Clients participating in integratedliving Australia’s Digital Dialogue program receive an iPad for the duration of this program which is gifted to them upon successful completion. They can also opt in to receive a complimentary internet data plan for the first 28 days of the program if they do not already have an internet connection in their home. If they choose to take advantage of this complimentary internet data plan, they will be responsible for the ongoing cost of the plan after the initial 28 days.