Senior Tech2Go Update!

    Tonari Gumi is reaching out to help Japanese Canadian seniors throughout the Lower Mainland learn how to use the popular tablet computers through its new “Senior Tech2Go” (Technology to Go) program. Under this program seniors (55+) are trained to help other seniors to use tablet computers. Senior volunteers will learn how to teach others to connect to the internet, take pictures, send and receive emails. A log of our activities and information on our tablet classes are available at Senior Tech2Go Volunteer Workshops We held our first Tech2Go volunteer workshops at Tonari Gumi on May 27 – June 10 (4times). We had a total of eight seniors who participated, learning the basics usage of the tablet (photography, mail sending and receiving, app downloads, printer settings, etc.). Our participants appeared to have had a really fun time at the workshop! Most of them already knew the basics of tablet use, but we reviewed each step to bring them all up to speed. All of them indicated that they had learned new things in the workshops! After the workshops, the participants will become Senior Tech2go volunteer teachers and assistants to share their knowledge. Teaching others is a good form of brain training. If you have a tablet, are using it, and are willing to learn more, you are exactly who we need! We need senior volunteers who are willing to help others! Our next Senior Tech2Go volunteer workshops are going to held at Nikkei Place in Burnaby, and at the Steveston Community Center in Steveston. In Burnaby: Place:the Nikkei Home Date&time:July 7, 14, 21, 27(Tuesdays, 4-times)2:00pm – 3:30pm (1.5hours) In Richmond: Place : Steveston Community Center Date:August 19, 26 (Wendsday, 2-times) 9:30pm – 11:30am (2 hours) After the workshops, each community center will be able to hold a tablet […]

Tonari Gumi’s Lighthouse “Iki Iki” Program Has Expanded!

Helping seniors has always been Tonari Gumi’s main mission, but since July 2014 when Tonari Gumi received a federal government grant under its New Horizons for Seniors program, Tonari Gumi’s involvement with helping seniors who are frail, handicapped or suffering from early stages of dementia has increased significantly. We could have described it as having increased by “leaps and bounds”, but that seemed inconsistent with the fact that we are helping seniors who need activities that are geared to their specific conditions, which in most cases requires activities that go more slowly and very few of them can “bound” anywhere. However, while their bodies may require them to move more slowly and deliberately, it doesn’t mean that their minds can’t “leap” to new levels. Even when some are experiencing early stages of dementia, they are still interested in “stretching” their abilities. This has meant that we need a lot more volunteers to assist our seniors in the program. At the same time, the program has provided more opportunities for our volunteers to relate more closely with our seniors and to help them more individually.  The key to Tonari Gumi’s version of the “Iki Iki” (or lively, lively) program is the tailoring of the program to meet the individual needs of each of the participants. In so doing, we are able to shed light on each participant’s abilities and help them to try more things—just like a lighthouse helps ships to move forward, even when the way is obscured by fog and storms. In our case, the way may be made more difficult due to physical weaknesses or mental cloudiness as a result of dementia. By engaging in both physical exercise and social inter-action, the participating seniors are able to enhance the quality of their life and possibly delay the on-set […]

New Faces at Tonari Gumi!

Many of you have probably noticed some new faces among Tonari Gumi’s staff over the past couple of months, but haven’t introduced them to everyone. For that, we apologize and hope to make amends for this oversight. First, we should introduce Kumi Kakinuma who is our new Office Administrative Assistant, who in March of this year, replaced our long-time office assistant, Junko Takashima. Originally, Kumi comes from Chiba Prefecture but has lived in Canada for some 26 years. She originally volunteered for Tonari Gumi helping to prepare meals for the seniors at Cooper Place many years ago, but now that her children have more or less grown up, she has decided to come back to Tonari Gumi as a staff member. Her hobbies include tennis, circuit training, yoga, etc. Kumi is motivated and loves to interact with the seniors. Make sure that you say hi the next time you come by the office. Second, Izumi Tagawa Kafetzis is our newest staff member, having started at Tonari Gumi in April of this year, to serve as a part-time coordinator for Tonari Gumi’s new “Senior Tech2Go Program” where Izumi is teaching seniors to help other seniors to use tablet computers. Izumi is already known to many within Tonari Gumi as she has been teaching seniors how to use tablet computer as a volunteer. Now, she is going to be able to take that teaching to another level as a staff member. Izumi is from Mie Prefecture and has been in Canada since 2004. She loves working with our seniors and will now have a chance to work with seniors in other parts of the Japanese Canadian community as the “Senior Tech2Go Program” expands to Nikkei Place and the Steveston Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre later this year.