linkAges TimeBank Expands into Community: Adds new Advocates

linkAges Advocates
linkAges Advocates

As linkAges expands in 2015, it will now be available as a community resource to all Palo Alto Medical Foundation patients. To support this expansion, four college students joined the Innovation Center team as the newest cohort of linkAges Advocates!

This second group of Advocates, from Santa Clara University, comes aboard after last summer’s pilot internship program, and their primary focus will be to engage our patient population with using linkAges as a community resource to support well-being. The Advocates will support linkAges TimeBank members by showing them various features of the TimeBank, facilitating exchanges, and suggesting offers and requests based on the member’s interests and needs. They will also be providing technology help at the Sunnyvale and Mountain View Senior Centers in response to last summer’s overwhelmingly positive feedback from the older adults who participated in tech help sessions.

Last weekend, the Advocates participated in an extensive training with healthcare professionals and community leaders. They learned about motivational interviewing and how to effectively communicate with older adults. In one of the sessions on technology training for seniors, the moderator had them wear special glasses and insert cotton balls in their ears to simulate physical limitations and teach them about the challenges many seniors face as they go about their daily life. The Advocates also role-played various enrollment scenarios and engaged in mock service-exchanges to get familiar with the linkAges TimeBank.

The Advocates will be stationed at the Community Health Resource Centers (CHRC) at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation clinics in Mountain View and Palo Alto where they will support enrollment of patients in the linkAges TimeBank and help new members create personalized linkAges plans. Individuals use these plans to set goals and optimize their use and experience of the linkAges system, with the Advocates available for assistance at every step of the way. Meanwhile, physicians are referring patients they think could benefit from becoming a member of the TimeBank. insert These include newly relocated community members, patients interested in increasing their connections to their community through service exchanges, seniors and family caregivers.

Stop by the CHRCs to meet the Advocates and learn more about the exciting work they’re doing in the community! You can find them at the Mountain View location every Monday from 1:30-4:30 PM and at the Palo Alto location every first and third Tuesday from 9:00-11:30 AM, as well as every second and fourth Monday from 1:30-4:30 PM.

Caroling for a Cause

caroling at ECH
Carolers are warmed up and ready to go! (Photo courtesy of El Camino Hospital)

More than 25 linkAges TimeBank members and their families and friends brought holiday cheer to patients and staff at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View during our Caroling for a Cause on December 10. The caroling group visited hospital hallways to sing popular holiday favorites and hand out peppermint treats to hospital staff. A few patients even invited carolers into their rooms for a special performance.

Members enjoyed a holiday potluck after caroling
Members enjoyed a holiday potluck after caroling

The group ended the night with a festive feast at the home of fellow TimeBank member Libby B. Members shared holiday stories over a delicious spread which included spinach souffle pies, quesadillas, turkey meatballs, holiday cookies, hot chocolate and hot cider.

This event was also special because for each person who participated, our team donated one hour to the linkAges TimeBank Community Fund. Community Fund hours go directly towards supporting members with additional needs, such as a member who is recovering from a surgery or a fall.

In total, carolers and their friends and families contributed nearly 30 hours to the Community Fund.

30 TimeBank hours were donated to the Community Fund – a gift that keeps on giving

Thank you to our hosts and to everyone who brought their singing voices and holiday spirit to the event.

View more caroling event photos on the linkAges TimeBank Facebook page.

TimeBank Tales reflect the monthly events where TimeBank members and guests from the community come together to share stories, laugh, learn and have fun. With the generous help of community partners, these diverse events help promote neighborly connections and shared interests.

Members Helping Members with Technology

For this month’s TimeBank Tales, we held our first ever “Member-to-Member” Technology Exchange!

How it worked: we paired up TimeBank members in need of technology assistance with a tech-saavy member for a one hour lesson with linkAges TimeBank partner, the Mountain View Senior Center.

From setting up a Facebook account to learning the in’s and out’s of using an iPhone, TimeBank members got these questions and more answered by others in the TimeBank community. There was even a photo booth for members to take their profile photo and upload it to the their TimeBank account!

Scroll through to see more moments from the event:

Dom & Barbara K (1)
Member Barbara receives help cleaning out photos on her iPad and Macbook
Katarina L & Cheryl D
TimeBank member Katarina teaches Cheryl how to use her iPhone
Mark, a longtime TimeBank member, shows new member Margarita how to use her iPhone 5s.
Mark, a longtime TimeBank member, shows new member Margarita how to use her iPhone 5s
TimeBank member Jim assists new member Jeanne with Skype
TimeBank member Jim assists new member Jeanne with Skype
TimeBank member Sena receives help with her camera from new member Helen.
TimeBank member Sena receives help with her camera from new member Helen

Thank you to all of our volunteers who helped make this evening a success!

While the event may be over, the exchange of knowledge doesn’t stop here. If you’re interested in receiving or giving technology help, head over to the linkAges TimeBank website and sign in to post an Offer or Request.

Not yet a member? Come to an orientation session to learn more about what the linkAges TimeBank has to offer!

The Unique Challenges of Teaching Tech to Older Adults

By Mihiri Karunaratne

mihiriStepping into the Mountain View Senior Center, you can already pick up the atmosphere of an active and engaged community. The space is beautifully designed and decorated, and full of older adults learning, socializing and enjoying themselves. It is different from my visit to other senior centers, some of which had smaller groups of people. From the start, the tech assistance that I, and my two other team members, Dominic and Kasie, were asked to give was also of a slightly different nature. The boards and postings made it evident that the members of the Mountain View Senior Center had several resources offering highly qualified technology help.

After a few minutes, it quickly became clear that today was going to be exceptional. Each of the individuals I helped today presented me with unique and challenging questions and problems; none of which I had experienced before. It forced me to think on my feet, and problem-solve to the best of my abilities, so that I could create a positive experience. Along the way, I was able to give some kind of help, regardless of the problem and my prior knowledge. I managed to work together with all of the seniors to combine our knowledge and discover alternate solutions. I had an especially rewarding experience working with Mary N, as we scoured the Internet looking for a way to understand Google Voice. Eventually we learned that the program had been informally replaced with Google Hangouts, and slowly delved into understanding the process of making calls. Finally, after almost an hour-long session, we managed to accomplish the first thing we had set out to do. Even though we took a much longer road to get there, it was a great experience to help Mary empower herself to connect freely with her loved ones and her community.