Help Seniors Stay Connected

Due to public health recommendations, Immanuel Lutheran Communities remains closed to visitors.  The proceeds from this year’s Virtual Estate Sale–an online auction hosted by Gardner Auction Service–will help purchase a connected theater system for the Immanuel Skilled Care Center.  

Keep reading to learn more about our need and how you can help our most vulnerable residents stay connected to their loved ones while remaining safe, healthy, and socially isolated.


The Need for Connection

If you’ve been on Immanuel’s campus lately, you’ll have seen the signs on our doors stating that at this time, we are not allowing visitors.  Within our buildings, we’ve temporarily stopped all activities where residents gather, and they are eating meals in their rooms.  Older adults are among the individuals most at risk from the highly contagious COVID-19, so these restrictions are necessary for their safety.  However, isolation can also be problematic–at the very least, residents miss their family members.  Especially for those with dementia, regular engagement is critical for health, and while staff are spending time with residents every day, they want and need to see the faces and hear the voices of those beyond our walls who are most dear to them.

For many older adults, technology can be daunting.  Some have tremors or other physical difficulties that make holding a cell phone or tablet still for long enough to have a conversation very difficult.  Others simply don’t know what to do when faced with a computer or other piece of unfamiliar equipment.  And even those who are able, willing, and even eager to use the available technology often need staff assistance and therefore cannot have a private conversation with loved ones.  Furthermore, all of these conversations take place on tiny screens, emphasizing that family members are far away.

Our Technological Solution

Immanuel is committed to keeping residents safe.  We are also committed to keeping them connected.  That’s why we’re asking for your help to purchase equipment for a connected theater in the Immanuel Skilled Care Center.  This equipment includes an internet-connected media hub, a 150-inch screen, a projector, and speakers designed specially to compensate for the hearing loss experienced by many older adults.  While no technology can replace the intimacy of an in-person conversation, this technology will greatly improve residents’ experience of communicating with their loved ones, whether they are thousands of miles away or socially isolating just down the street.  Here are only a few of the many benefits of this technology:

  • Residents will see their loved ones on a large screen.  Instead of having conversations with thumbnail-sized images (which may be difficult for those with low vision to see distinctively), residents will video chat with nearly life-sized versions of their loved ones.
  • Residents will be able to participate in group events with their family members.  The large screen will make it much easier for residents to see multiple people on a single video call, providing a more immersive experience during family gatherings and other off-site group events for which they cannot be present (once groups are able to gather safely, of course!).
  • Residents will be able to have private conversations.  This equipment will be installed a space where doors can be closed and residents can talk with their loved ones without concern about who overhears.  Staff will be able to set up a conversation and then leave, though they will still have a way to see and check on residents in case they need help during the chat.
  • Immanuel will be able to provide simultaneous cross-campus broadcasts of important information.  When it is again safe for residents to gather in groups, this technology, in conjunction with equipment already installed at Buffalo Hill Terrace, will make it possible for Immanuel staff to address all residents at the same time–or broadcast important, publicly-available content such as briefings by the governor or other public officials.


How You Can Help

From July 24-August 3, the Immanuel Foundation Virtual Estate Sale, hosted by Gardner Auction Service, will raise funds to purchase this connected theater system.  You can give by purchasing items. 

Or, to make an immediate charitable donation, simply click the button below and choose “Connected Theater System” from the drop-down menu under “Use my donation for…”  Thank you!

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At the Immanuel Foundation, we believe that every senior living in Montana has the right to a safe, secure home in an engaging and supportive community. We work every day to make that vision a reality and your financial support is crucial.

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