Photo: For COVID survivor Elpidia, drawing on her tablet helps her manage her depression and cope with her isolation.
While every Home Connect older adult learner’s story is unique, we try to identify program “firsts” when they occur. Elpidia’s story falls in that category as our first COVID survivor!
Elpidia was employed as a nursing technician in several Mexico City hospitals before moving to the U.S. and settling in the Bay Area in 2018. She had some prior computer experience, mostly related to her job, but had never used a tablet. Johana Matthews, a staff member at the Mission Neighborhood Center, told her about the Home Connect program. She enrolled and quickly became a CTN learner.
Elpidia’s Home Connect training with CTN staff trainer Maria Vazquez began in early August. Besides introducing her to her new tablet, Maria helped her learn to use Gmail, Zoom, YouTube, Duo, and the Keep Notes app from Google. Elpidia told us, “I felt comfortable because Maria was very patient with me. She is genuinely caring and knowledgeable about the use of the tablet and all the apps. This was a fantastic experience. I am so grateful that I survived the virus, which makes me even more thankful for Maria and my tablet.”
Maria describes her experience working with Elpidia as “beautiful” because Elpidia was able to use her tablet to deal with the depression created by her COVID experience. Elpidia can now connect with the outside world. The stay-at-home isolation and depression had already taken its toll on Elpidia, exacerbated by her COVID diagnosis and prolonged recovery. While working with Maria, she discovered that drawing on her tablet using the Keep Notes app helped her manage her depression and better cope with her isolation. Now she can easily keep in touch with family and friends and rejoin her community virtually. She continues making art using the Keep Notes app and uses emails instead of texts to share photos of drawings she has created.
Elpidia is eager for CTN to recruit additional Spanish-language coaches so she can continue her digital learning journey.