March 20, 2003

You've Got E-Mail

Technology has made it easier for area residents to keep in touch with friends and family members. Unfortunately for many it is not quite as easy to keep in touch with technology.

Emily Kiddoo, a junior at Scotland County R-I High School is doing her part to help alleviate that problem for residents at the Scotland County Care Center.

Kiddoo volunteers at the nursing home. She's not a candy striper or a nurse's aide nor does she teach a computer class. Kiddoo is the designated e-mail checker. Okay that sounds a little odd for a job title so lets call her a communications assistant.

Emily checks in on the care center's computer every Tuesday afternoon for e-mail to residents. If any communications have been received she prints out the electronic letters and passes them on to the residents.

"It started out as a family deal," Emily said. "My aunt in Booneville was running up enormous phone bills calling my grandmother, who is a resident of the care center. Now she sends her e-mails."

The system still allows the family members to communicate without the high cost of long distance telephone bills.

Since she first started going into the care center to get her grandmother's e-mail for her, other residents have caught on to the program. Friends and family members can send e-mail to residents at the care center via the nursing homes e-mail address, Emily checks the site once a week and prints out any messages for residents and delivers the notes to their rooms.

Kiddoo also allows the residents to return e-mail as she will take their messages and enter them into the computer to send to a friend or family member. Right now she said that part of the program was not being utilized too much but added she thought as the residents got used to the technology that they will utilize her services more.

"Right now there aren't too many residents that take advantage of e-mail but I hope once they get used to me and what I am doing it will provide them an easy way to stay in touch with their loved ones," Kiddoo said.

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