Lillian’s tablet tour brings a family holiday into view

Lillian Tellsdale is looking forward to a big family holiday at the end of the year. The trip to Penrith in her native Cumbria with her sister and other relatives is six months away, allowing the 74-year-old from Wigton plenty of time to research the area on her new tablet. 

She says she might learn to take photos on the device to show support staff her holiday snaps when she returns. 

Lillian got her tablet through Chrysalis, the community-based organisation that supports her and applied for the device from the government’s Digital Lifeline Fund for people with learning disabilities. 

Organisations apply for tablets on behalf of individuals, and AbilityNet’s role is to offer free support. 

Lillian, who lives in a supported living flat (supported living is housing combined with care and support), is not keen on typing, so AbilityNet assessors recommended Action Blocks

These are essentially big, one-click buttons enabling users to press once and immediately jump to the website or game they want to use. Also recommended was a setting allowing Lillian to speak and tell her tablet what she wants to do or find out.

Lillian zooms in on new activities

As well as exploring holiday activities on her tablet, Lillian uses an app to play the card game Solitaire and another app to play jigsaw games. The big screen on her new device is a bonus: “It’s very good for jigsaws. I did jigsaw games with my sister on a small tablet - it’s not as big as the new one.”

Lillian uses the device to make Zoom calls with her support staff when she cannot see them face-to-face. Video calling is her “favourite thing”: “I just press the button and go straight to Zoom."   
Lillian spends two days a week at a centre run by Chrysalis, where she likes to knit, cook, and garden. She is currently making a scarf and keeping an eye on the tomato and cucumber plants in the centre’s vegetable patch. 

Lillian’s weekly schedule includes shopping trips to her local town centre and walks in the countryside near her home. She adds: “I’m kept busy!”

Her support staff say Lillian has impressed them with her use of the device, moving swiftly from not knowing how to switch on the tablet to effortlessly logging onto video calls at the touch of a button.

And Lillian’s verdict? No words, just a broad smile and a double thumbs up.

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