Cork County Age Friendly Programme Supports Digital Connectivity

Cork County Council, through its Age Friendly Programme, has partnered with the HSE to provide digital supports for older people in residential care homes, enabling them to link with family and loved ones. The rollout has commenced with a first call to Bantry who joined the Age Friendly County Programme in 2020.

The initiative will provide care centres in each of the county’s eight Age Friendly Towns with an age friendly ACORN Tablet. Irish made and designed with the older person in mind, the tablet is easy to navigate and uncluttered, offering ease of access to the internet and includes a managed service for use in an older person’s community care setting.

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley noted the importance of such an initiative saying,

“Events of the past year have shown how connected we are as a community and how willing we are to support one another. We now have the technology to stay connected with our family, friends and loved ones across great distances and nobody should be excluded from these benefits. Providing digital connectivity to elderly members of the community will be great for residents, their families, carers and the Cork County community at large.”

The rollout will continue over the coming weeks to designated care centres in the remaining seven Cork County Age Friendly Towns of Bandon, Cobh, Kinsale, Mitchelstown, Charleville, Millstreet and Passage West Monkstown.

Chair of Cork County Older People’s Council Liz Maddox welcomed the first delivery of equipment in Bantry, saying,

“It was a huge honour to be present at Bantry General Hospital recently as Chair of the Cork County Older Peoples Council when Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley presented an ACORN Tablet to Bantry Hospital from this Cork County Age Friendly Unit and HSE Initiative. The staff were delighted to receive this to enable remote communication for their older patients. It is so important, right now, to stay in touch with loved ones.”

This initiative comes from collaborative work by Cork County Council, the Cork County Age Friendly Alliance, the Cork County Older People’s Council and the HSE in response to key learnings arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Age Friendly Cities and Counties Programme is part of a worldwide movement, inspired by the World Health Organisation (WHO).  Cork County Council committed to the programme in 2014 and has now eight County Cork towns enrolled in the Age Friendly County Programme: Bandon, Cobh, Kinsale, Mitchelstown, Bantry, Charleville, Millstreet and Passage West Monkstown.