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Tablet lending program in Waterloo region helps seniors, people with disabilities get comfortable with tech

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Seniors and people living with disabilities in Waterloo region are getting comfortable with tablets and smart devices thanks to a tablet lending program.

Your Neighbourhood Credit Union (YNCU) branches in the region partnered with Community Support Connections (CSC) to teach some tech to people without having to leave their couch.

The purpose to help those who are still uneasy about the use of electronic devices, like 57-year-old Kitchener resident Laura Walters.

"I'm old school," said Walters, sitting with a tablet on her lap in her apartment.

She lives with multiple sclerosis and recently started feeling disconnected from the world in more ways than one.

"I can't walk very well," Walters said. "And I have to climb three flights of stairs."

Her mobility issues made getting to her weekly Bingo games tricky. Then this program came along.

"[My friend] said 'would you like to get a tablet and play Bingo with some people on Zoom?'" Walters said.

The answer was simple – "yes."

Laura Walters (left) sits with Your Neighbourhood Credit Union branch manager Shezmin Samji as the two use a tablet. (Spencer Turcotte/CTV News Kitchener)Walters is now able to get free tablet lessons from volunteers.

Shezmin Samji is a branch manager at YNCU and one of eight volunteers going to CSC clients' homes to offer some tips.

"You can use it for different things such as games or booking appointments or even looking at the weather or the news," said Samji.

The credit union donated $10,000 to help buy 24 tablets that are now on loan to people like Walters.

"There's really nice people that say, 'oh I'll help you out Laura.' And they come to my house even and help me get on track," Walters said.

Although she has made a lot of progress, Walters is the first to admit there may still be another lesson in her future.

Click here to find out more about the program and how to participate.

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