As Mr. Rogers once put it, "‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

The coronavirus has left many residents of nursing homes unable to communicate with loved ones since the buildings are on lockdown for their own protection. So two Dartmouth, MA women set out to be helpers.

We spoke to Jill A. Valadao about the fundraiser that she and friend, Sarah Otis Firth, have been working on the last few days.

I’m a speech therapist and work with geriatric patients. Sarah is a school nurse. We saw the efforts made for kids in the schools while things were shut down due to COVID-19. We wanted to do something nice for those who may be forgotten. To know that the elderly can’t have visitors is heartbreaking.

Valadao and Firth talked about starting a fundraiser to buy iPads and deliver them to local nursing homes. The device would help residents communicate in real-time with loved ones and actually see their faces.

“We started ‘Facetime for Nana’ on Wednesday, and it just took off," Valadao said. "Our first goal was just enough to buy one iPad. Now we’re at a little more than enough for 10 total. I’d love to be able to purchase 20 or 25 by the end of the week.”

FaceTime for Nana via Facebook
FaceTime for Nana via Facebook

Valadao and Firth were able to deliver three iPads to Alden Court, Autumn Glen, and the Royal of Fairhaven, MA on Friday, March 20.

“No one is allowed in, so we met someone from the facility outside," she said. "People have been so grateful. It actually feels like we’re doing something to help. Putting smiles on people’s faces.”

UPDATE: Alden Court posted a video to their Facebook page of a resident using the iPad to sing.

More From Cajun Radio 1290 AM