Finding a lifeline in technology
04 Aug 2020
Pottsville Beach Neighbourhood Centre is a Be Connected Network Partner and recipient of a Digital Devices grant. One of their learners, Lyn, received a loan laptop from their loan devices program and has submitted the following story:
My name is Lynn and I live on my own in Tweed Heads NSW. I am 72 years old and was born with a rare genetic disorder called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bones) which also means that I am wheelchair dependent. I have 2 brothers, 2 sisters, 3 children, 7 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren but none of them live nearby.
I commenced working with the Dept. of Education doing office administration until I retired in 2010. I currently volunteer my time to the Pottsville Beach Neighbourhood Centre (PBNC) and am in my 5th year as a Board Member of the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Society of Australia. The O.I. Board is made up of people with O.I. from all parts of Australia and our monthly meetings are via Skype. Having a PC at home with unlimited internet access has been imperative to my charity commitments and staying in touch with my family throughout Australia and the UK.
COVID-19 lockdown posed no real difficulties for me at home as I had been communicating via the internet with family and friends for several years and for the past 3 years or so have been doing my grocery shopping online. BUT!! On 9 June 2020, I had an unexpected motor vehicle accident resulting in hospitalisation for many, many weeks to come – plus a lengthy rehabilitation to boot! The reality struck me that I no longer had my lifeline support of a computer and internet access, leaving me feeling very frustrated, isolated and vulnerable. Plus, the accident caused irreparable damage to my wheelchair, hoist and motor vehicle which have been my ‘legs’ for over 20 years.
I contacted PBNC Manager, Angela, explaining my frustrations of not being able to access the internet in hospital. She was extremely helpful, advising me they had recently been awarded a grant from Good Things Foundation to enable PBNC to loan computers with internet access to eligible seniors. Angela arranged for Drew (PBNC’s Community Capacity Worker and Be Connected Ambassador) to set up the loan contract and a laptop for me. Within a couple of days, he arrived by my bedside to take me through some of the laptop’s features and to sign me up with the program. I honestly can’t believe how lucky I am and I cannot thank the PBNC crew enough for their help and consideration.
This loan laptop with internet access has enabled me to access to my bank accounts, pay bills, keep in touch with family and friends, communicate with the insurance companies in relation to my accident as well as keep up to date and participate in my charity commitments, and also provides me access to entertainment.
No longer am I feeling totally isolated from my everyday life whilst lying in bed all day in hospital. Thank you again to everyone connected with this valuable service - it has meant such a lot to me and keeps a smile on my face and my sanity intact.
From my hospital bed