Free Smartphones Help Seniors Stay Connected

As hospital beds continue to fill with the second wave of coronavirus patients, people will need to shelter at home and vulnerable populations including older adults must endure more time in isolation.  To combat loneliness, and help seniors stay connected, engaged, and able to access healthcare resources, Telus has announced it will provide 2.2 million Canadian seniors with a free refurbished smartphone. 

According to a recent Globe Newswire report, older adults who receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement will qualify for a free smartphone with unlimited nationwide talk and text, and 3GB of data for $25 per month.  The Mobility for Good for Seniors program was created to help older adults more easily stay in touch with loved ones, play games, listen to music or an audiobook as well as stay update on health information by downloading the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Alert app

With greater access to virtual health care, vital information, and more social interaction, it is hoped that older adults will be able to stay healthy and connected this holiday season.  Earlier this year, Telus donated 14,000 free mobile devices and $0 rate plans to hundreds of organizations across Canada, including long-term care facilities for seniors.  

In addition to the smartphone program,  Telus is offering high-speed broadband internet to low-income families and people living with disabilities for $9.95 per month.  Online workshops and other resources help seniors stay safe from scams and threats while learning how to make the most of the digital world, protecting themselves from identity theft or fraud. 

According to Statistics Canada, over the past 35 years, the number of people living alone has more than doubled.  As the older population swells in the next 20 years, the proportion of the population that lives alone is also expected to increase as it is more likely for seniors to live alone due to divorce or the loss of a spouse.  Meeting the diverse needs of seniors who live alone will continue to be an important factor in helping older adults in the community thrive.