Facebook Class to Help Grandparents Stay Connected with Family

ECPI University Students and SSSEVA Partner to Serve Southside Seniors

“I have a Facebook account set up for me by my children, but other than seeing what others are saying and doing, I am not quite sure how to use it,” says Winfred Felton, a 70-something Virginia Beach resident. “I’m looking forward to taking the class and getting more in touch with the lives of my kids and grandkids. It’s better late than never.”

Felton and about 20 other seniors will soon get the opportunity to learn about social media courtesy of university students and a seniors assistance group. Seven students and faculty from ECPI University will instruct the seniors as part of a program between the university and the Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia (SSSEVA). The organization operates and coordinates programs that assist Southside seniors age 60 and older, their families and caregivers, as well as providing a resource for adults with disabilities.

Most of the participating seniors have some computer/internet skills. Students will build on that foundation to teach basic operations and uses of Facebook and help seniors create their own pages. The “Never Too Old For Facebook “class will be held from 2-3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29 at ECPI University’s Medical Careers Institute at 5501 Greenwich Road, Suite 100 in Virginia Beach. On May 12 the school held a “Never Too Old For Technology” class about texting to another group of seniors from SSSEVA. The media is welcome to attend the upcoming Facebook instruction.

ECPI University instructor Terri Gilbert and Dr. Dawn Campbell, D.H.A., Healthcare Administration Program Director, ECPI University’s School of Health Sciences, Medical Careers Institute (MCI), will oversee the class.

“We had the texting class and before that we worked with the SSSEVA around Christmas on a drive to provide homebound seniors with emergency supplies if power went out,” Dr. Campbell said. “The students, faculty and school are all very excited about these opportunities to serve our seniors.”

Ms. Ricki Furlong is one of the student instructors.

“As a Navy veteran, I understand the importance of interconnection and being able to reach your loved ones when you feel so far from home,” says Furlong, in Healthcare Administration at ECPI University. “Social media is an essential link for family members to stay close.”

Season Roberts is Director of Volunteer Services for SSSEVA and worked with Campbell on developing the programs.

“These tools for using social media will really help seniors get engaged and involved with their kids and grandkids,” Roberts said.  “ECPI University is providing a valuable resource and is very eager to help. We’re really developing a partnership.”

Campbell and Roberts said there are plans to provide additional seniors programs in the future.