Ralph’s hooked on his tablet
- IRT technology trial helps retirement village residents embrace tablets
- Uses an award-winning software product called Care Cohort
- Provides users with a state-of-the-art communications and entertainment device
- Trial has changed IRT Peakhurst resident Ralph Heness’ life, opening up world of communication and entertainment
Thanks to an IRT trial, IRT Peakhurst resident Ralph Heness has embraced tablet technology.
Before Ralph Heness joined an IRT technology trial, he had no idea what a tablet was.
“I didn’t have a clue; I thought it was a Panadol,” he laughs.
“I had no computer devices and zero knowledge.”
Although he had no knowledge of computers, the ex-fireman was keen to learn new skills and so he asked to join the trial at IRT Peakhurst.
The trial was conducted initially with about a dozen residents at IRT Peakhurst in Sydney and more recently at IRT Kangara Waters in Canberra.
The tablet-based solution uses an award-winning software product called Care Cohort, which provides IRT residents with a state-of-the-art communications and entertainment device.
The focus of the trial was to help participants become familiar with a tablet and then use it for communicating with family and friends, accessing entertainment online and participating in IRT surveys in real time.
It involved providing a group of residents with tablets and teaching them how to use them.
A key aim was to link the residents with the wider world, as well as to give IRT a direct line of communication to them.
In a very short space of time, Ralph mastered his new tablet, a wireless, portable personal computer with a touchscreen interface.
And he was hooked.
“It has changed my world,” he says.
“It has totally broadened my outlook on life.”
As Ralph shares his experience, he rattles off the different programs and applications he uses – Messenger, Skype, Facebook, Google, YouTube – like he’s been doing it for years .
“I use it to communicate with a mate in the Philippines, via Messenger. I also follow him on Facebook,” he says.
Ralph loves music and plays YouTube music videos for hours.
“I love the likes of Shirley Bassey, Frank Sinatra, Andrea Bocelli, Nat King Cole, and Sammy Davis Jr. YouTube lets me relive my younger days.”
But he’s also discovering new talent, such as nine-year-old Dutch singer Amira Willighagen and 13-year-old Laura Bretan.
“I’ve listened to their life stories and they’re only little stories, because they haven’t lived very long. They’re both opera singers and their voices are incredible.”
Ralph also organised a trip on the Ghan train, from Alice Springs to Darwin.
He hired a car to drive to Kakadu and organised a flight over Arnhem Land.
All of it – bar the payment – was done on his tablet.
“There’s no way I would have done this if the tablet hadn’t come through my front door,” he says.
However, he feels his greatest achievement is the first aid certificate he gained from the Australian Lifesaving Academy NSW.
As a member of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society he was invited to do a first aid course, part of which was online.
“I ummed and ahed because I’d only been using the tablet for three weeks but decided to give it a go. I had to answer 70 medical questions for the online part of the exam.”
He passed the online exam and then his practical exam to gain his certificate.
“For me this is the real success story of the tablet project,” he says.
Ralph’s become so comfortable with the new technology he’s now bought a second device.
“I’ve got this now,” he says, as he pulls his first smartphone out of his top pocket.
“But I prefer the tablet.”