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Healthwatch 16: Keeping seniors connected

During this coronavirus pandemic, seniors are going digital.

Area health care providers have had to get creative when it comes to making sure their senior patients are physically well, not to mention mentally active and socially engaged.

"They were coming to our program sometimes five times a week. The socialization aspect is something we've tried to focus on in a different way now," said Marquene Klimchok. Life Geisinger. "We've sent home some packets, everything from puzzles to poetry contests, different kinds of inspirational readings. We're also making phone calls to our folks.

"We were already caring for seniors in their home. Many were already dealing with isolation and food insecurity. Unfortunately, with COVID-19, that has been amplified." said Dr. Anthony Wylie, Geisinger at Home. "We're actually able to do a unique telemedicine model that involves having one of our team members with them at home, so you can do a complete chronic or acute visit right at home, and I can hear it on a set of headphones and observe that on my end."

As far as seniors' overall willingness to learn, Dr. Wylie and Marquene Klimchok say don't underestimate their willingness to learn, that in general, they think people don't give seniors enough credit when it comes to tech-savviness. They say many people they work with have grown to like telemedicine or connecting online to keep themselves connected.

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