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Regional non-profit AGE of Central Texas has expanded their online programming for older adults, utilizing lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic to better help older adults and family caregivers to thrive. The new “Virtual Connections” program – a monthly subscription program offering small group virtual activities to older adults experiencing challenges with their memory or cognition – has launched to offer a wider variety of activities and support for those living with memory loss and dementia.
“This new program offers a personalized video activity schedule to meet clients where they are – in terms of their preferences, comfort level, and symptoms related to memory or cognition,” says Suzanne Anderson, AGE’s Executive Director. “What makes Virtual Connections unique is how we will work with participants to provide or find services to meet their individual goals for social connection, brain exercise, and overall wellness.”
The program combines weekly small group video meetings and activities led by AGE staff with referrals to community resources to help the older adult cope with cognitive changes. The program is designed to benefit both the older adult and the family caregiver, with caregiver support groups and resources as well as levels of programming customized for individuals living with different symptoms of dementia.
“Our participants say that the video meetings have been a lifeline for them, giving them something to look forward to every day,” Anderson says. “They say, ‘I can’t wait to get on the video and have everyone waiving back at me and excited to see me.’ Other clients say, ‘The video meetings take me out of my head. Sometimes I forget I’m on video, because I’m so into the activity and people are so interesting!’”
Anderson says the new program allows individuals to participate in engaging and fun activities from home, and “meeting the individual where they are” while staying safe.
“For the older adult participant, Virtual Connections offers brain exercise, social connection with their peers, a structured routine, and the opportunity to participate independently while trying new activities,” Anderson says. “For the caregiver, we provide emotional support, the opportunity to connect with other caregivers who are facing similar challenges, and on-going Information and support in living with and caring for an older adult living with cognitive changes.”
Virtual Connections is available on a sliding-scale fee, based on the individual’s needs and goals. For more information, email MemoryInfo@AGEofCentralTX.org or visit http://www.TinyURL.com/AgeVirtualConnections.
For more information on the programs and resources provided by AGE of Central Texas, visit www.AGEofCentralTX.org or call (512) 451-4611.