People with disabilities and chronic health conditions are looking for ways to socialize safely. The pandemic has also made it difficult for people to get help in their homes. Now, more than ever, they look to technology to stay linked to the people they love and for help with basic tasks at home.
“The good news is that smart technology has made linking and helping easier," said Tricia Lewis, director of Independent Living Services at Society's Assets. "With Amazon Echo, Google Home or another smart speaker, you can use your voice or an application (app) to control almost anything at home. Tell your microwave the cook time and power level for a perfect cup of soup, or ask your oven to preheat to a specific temperature. Turn off the faucet with your voice. Ask Alexa to turn on the smart TV; then use your voice to adjust the volume or choose a channel. You can even turn up the heat without leaving your chair using a smart thermostat.”
Smart speakers have additional features. Some have a screen for video calls with loved ones around the world. They can also tell jokes, give weather updates, set reminders and alarms, and manage a calendar so no appointments are forgotten.
The assistive technology program at Society's Assets has several types available. People can borrow certain devices to see if they meet their needs. Contact an independent living coordinator at Society’s Assets, 262-637-9128.
A new group called Revital Eyes has begun meeting monthly to give insight into living with a visual impairment and resources. The bilingual group meets virtually on the second Friday of each month at 4 p.m. (next meeting is Jan. 8). For more information and to get set up for a virtual meeting, contact Tami Frentzel, independent living coordinator, at 262-925-6097.
Society’s Assets appreciates caregivers for the things they do for a family member, friend or neighbor. Caregivers help with making meals, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, rides to appointments and daily care. Caregivers can be paid for the time they are helping someone. Society’s Assets can also help people find additional resources. Other caregiving positions are available. A person can call the Intake Department at 262-637-9128 to see if they qualify.
Take a breather
That’s the focus for a Zoom group offered every Wednesday at 11 a.m. This group is open to anyone of any age with a disability or mental health condition. The group is designed to be part support, part resource sharing and part just chatting. Help may be available for those who do not have a device or Wi-Fi to join the conversation. For information or to register for the group, contact Emily Cadman, independent living coordinator, at 262-637-9128 or by via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Born in the '90s?
So you’re 20 something and looking for help with those grown-up issues like finding a job or moving into your own place. You also have a disability or mental health condition. A group for people born in the 1990s gives members information and support for moving ahead. The group meets virtually from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Upcoming meetings are Jan. 7 and 21, and Feb. 4 and 18. For information, contact Emily Cadman at 262-637-9128 or via email at email@example.com.
For more information about community resources like food sources, utilities, benefits and more, visit the agency website, societysassets.org. Look for the link to COVID-19 updates on the home page.
Since 1974, Society’s Assets has advanced independence for individuals with disabilities. For more information, call 800-378-9128 or go to the above website.