Tablets for older Limerick citizens to help combat social isolation

Pictured during a workshop hosted by Limerick City and County Council to deliver Acorn tablets for older Limerick citizens, aimed at reducing levels of social isolation among older people, are Cllr James Collins, Mayor of Limerick City and County, along with Paddy Hyland from Garryspillane and Pearl Walsh (Newcastle West) and Mary Cronin, chair of the Limerick and National Network of Older Peoples' Councils. (Photo: Diarmuid Greene)

More than 30 older people from across County Limerick have been presented with special tablets as part of a programme to reduce incidents of social isolation and open up a new world of communication.

Age Friendly Limerick, which is co-ordinated by Limerick City and County Council, in partnership with Cliffrun Media, are delivering the project aimed at reducing levels of social isolation among older people, through the use of the Acorn Tablet.

The Acorn is a specialised tablet, tailored to address the needs of seniors in a closed secure network.

It opens up a world of relevant online content for seniors, encouraging users to engage and interact at both social and commercial level. Its design is built around five content and application pillars: Independence, Health, Finance, Communications and Security.

Paddy Hyland from Garryspillane, Co. Limerick (centre) certainly enjoying the workshop introducing tablets for older Limerick citizens, to help combat social exclusion, at the Age Friendly Limerick workshop. (Photo: Diarmuid Greene)

The interface has clean lines, is simple to navigate, provides easy access to a help button, and provides remote technical assistance when required.

A user can start with only one or two apps loaded and over time, additional elements can be added according to the users individual preferences.


The idea is that by becoming connected to what’s going on in their area, older people will venture out, for example, to a meeting in the local community centre, or they can ask for a lift to a hospital/ doctor’s appointment, do their online banking, or pay a bill.

They will also be able to Skype their children living abroad who have the Acorn Companion App downloaded to their smart phone.

A workshop has been hosted by Limerick City and County Council at which the 30 older people from across the county have been provided with their tablets and given instructions on how to use it.

Five intergenerational workshops will help connect old and young and provide an opportunity for the younger people to support the older people in the use of technology.

The Age Friendly Limerick Alliance was established in 2013 under the chair of Conn Murray, Chief Executive of Limerick City and County Council.

It’s committed to the process of developing, implementing and evaluating a strategy, to address the needs of the ageing population all across Limerick.

Funding has been provided by the Department of Community and Rural Affairs covering the cost of the tablet, including sim card and technical backup for the duration of the programme trial period.