Somebody in a kitchen, looking at a laptop, drinking a cup of tea

Case study: Elena

Elena was referred to Tech to Community Connect in November 2020. She is a full-time carer for her daughter and heard about the project through Surrey Action for Carers.

Since having her tablet, Elena has found it invaluable, using it to help support her daughter, receive music lessons, keep up with worldwide news, attend medical appointments and to fill her house with music all day long.

Elena told me all about how much she loves to dance and how, when she can, she volunteers to dance for different charitable organisations and schools.

It’s always brilliant to see a tech member successfully introduce a device into their daily lives and make use of it for both work and play. Elena reminds me that as a carer, it’s important to take some time for yourself to unwind and recharge and it sounds like she’s struck a perfect balance.


So how about you start off with telling us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Elena, I am a full-time carer for my daughter who has had cerebral palsy from birth. She’s now a young lady but she still needs help with activities and everything. So, I spend a lot of time with her, looking after her except the days that she goes to a day care centre. And then I get time for myself. I do a bit of voluntary work and a bit of teaching. But that’s me, Elena from Cuba.

And how did you find out about tech to Community Connect?

Basically, I wanted to do some music lessons. I went to a music group with the carers support workers. This was just as we were going into lockdown, so the group suggested we continue to meet via zoom. I explained that I didn’t have a tablet and one of the ladies from the group gave my details to your team to see if they could help me.

What were you hoping to get out of your involvement with tech to Community Connect?

It has already changed my life because I have been able to do things I couldn’t do before. Thanks to Tech, thanks to you for providing me with a tablet.

So did you get the support you were looking for? And did it meet your expectations?

It did more than I expected. It’s not only benefited me, but also my daughter and the whole family, because my house is a happy environment.

I put music on as soon as I wake up and keep the music on all day long. The tablet is connected to our television, so we can watch all of our Cuban and chill music on YouTube. We also use the tablet to watch the news to find out what’s happening here and in Cuba. I have enjoyed watching things like documentaries too, they’re really good.

The tablet has also helped to support my daughter. I enrolled her on a zoom cooking course.

Did you have a Tech Angel from us as well?

Oh, no, I didn’t need any help because my son helped me.

It sounds like you had your very own tech Angel at home in the form of your son.

Yeah, he’s very clever. He’s 22 now.

What kind of things do you use your device for?

Well, to watch, and listen to the news from all over the world, including Cuba. I’m interested in the news, I have always been. Also, for music. And then we also watch stuff like documentaries. I like documentaries about the mysterious world, and life in different countries. I also use it for zoom sessions and medical appointments.

Fantastic, and you did you mentioned something earlier about running dance classes as well?

Oh yes, my dance is voluntary work. And I can take the tablet. I’ll take the tablet and my stereo, I take my dress and then I just perform! Over the years I have danced for carers and for the WI (a group for women that meet every week). I have always danced but just as a hobby or voluntary work because being a full-time carer is very difficult. I’ve also danced in colleges like Farnborough Tech.

It sounds like you’ve danced a lot of places.

But with a tablet is just so easy. Because if I connect my phone and somebody rings or somebody sends a message or an email comes, it’s not good for performing. But I haven’t performed much recently because of the Coronavirus.

And what would you say was your best experience using the tablet?

It’s knowing what’s happening in the world. But also doing the zoom sessions for my daughter because she can connect the tablet to the television and see her zoom session while we’re cooking. The tablet is connected to the television all day long. From the moment I wake up, unless I want to sit in the living room and then I disconnect the Chromecast. I can connect my phone but it’s not as good because of all of the additional notifications and distractions that a phone has

Do you feel that having a device has improved your life and if so how?

It has definitely improved my life because I’ve never had a tablet before. I didn’t realise how convenient it would be. I just had a television in the living room that I had to share with everybody and it’s not the same. If I need any information, I just click the button. I’ve got my favourite stuff on there like Amazon. YouTube is definitely the first thing I press on the tablet. The music I need depends on the time of day. It has definitely improved my life because I have always concentrated on what my daughter needs. So yeah, you have been amazing thanks to yourself, to Tech to Connect.

Do you feel like having a device has made you feel more connected?

Oh definitely. I have never felt alone, our lives have changed. It’s a nice screen, it’s not tiny like the phone, it’s bigger. With the technology we just connect it to Bluetooth or the Chromecast or to the stereo. It’s been amazing having the tablet I just don’t want to live without one now. Yes, it’s been so good.

Is there anything you would like to say to anyone who is considering participating in the tech to Community Connect project?

Oh, if they need a tablet, do not hesitate to contact Tech to Community Connect. It’s really helped me. I tried to do a zoom one day on the phone and my phone wasn’t that good. The case worker said, “Let’s get you in touch with Tech to Connect, so you can have a tablet and join in the zoom sessions. The following day somebody delivered the tablet! The service was amazing!

I thought it was going to take a few days but from the moment I was notified of it, the following day I had a delivery. I was very lucky. I recommend people to ask for help. Speak to your social worker, or action for carers or speak to Tech to Community Connect directly.

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