This Christmas season, Sandy Patterson asked Santa for an iPad. Patterson is unable to use a computer because two strokes have left her with hemiplegia and cognitive deficits—she is paralyzed on one side of her body and unable to type or navigate with a mouse. The only technology that she can use is one that has voice recognition software.
Prior to her strokes, Patterson had risen through the ranks to work in management positions with New Jersey Bell (now Verizon).
Her sister, Priscilla Aiken, says Patterson was and still is a very smart individual. “I used to seek her counsel many times after I became management at my company,” Aiken says. “She always gave me great advice.”
Patterson recalls that she once used a computer to “send out a family newsletter, write my thesis, and do all other kinds of things.” But after her strokes, she said, “I gave it to my nephew.”
Volunteers with a nonprofit organization called Blue Hair Technology, whose mission is to teach seniors about current technology and the tools accessible to them to connect and communicate with family and friends, met Patterson while they were conducting technology workshops at Dogwood Forest of Alpharetta assisted living community. Patterson has attended the workshops since day one and always expressed an interest in the iPad. Blue Hair Technology founder Jane Ratliff and her volunteers recognized that Patterson would need special voice recognition software known as Siri in order to operate the device.
So, Ratliff began a campaign to buy an iPad and make Patterson’s Christmas wish come true. The funds were raised with donations from 10 people, and Aiken also chipped in on the purchase.
Patterson was presented with her new iPad on December 20th at Dogwood Forest. When asked what she thought about her gift, she replied, “I am very happy to have an iPad. I don’t have to use someone else’s; now, I have my own.”
The first application that Patterson downloaded to her iPad using her fancy, new purple stylus was Pandora, a free Internet radio service. She wanted to listen to some Motown, specifically “Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson. She has a list of things that she would like to do such as “play games, use e-mail, do Facebook, and look at news channels.” Her favorite websites are Bing, Google and Yahoo. She also says that she has her sisters’ e-mail addresses and that she will “e-mail to bother them.”
This woman, who was once “large and in charge” as described by her sister, is now reflecting on her memories and therapeutically improving with the assistance of her new iPad. And Patterson has some advice for people who might be afraid to learn how to use a device like the iPad: “If you can use a computer you should, whether it’s an iPad or a computer. Right now, the iPad is the best one for me.”
For more information about Blue Hair Technology, log on to bluehairtech.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone (678) 641-1024.