When Charlotte Pearce lost her much-loved grandmother in August last year, she knew how alone her 87-year-old grandad would feel. Too far away from him to visit on a regular basis, she decided to give him an iPhone so they could stay in touch via video calls.

The technology transformed the remainder of his life. A goodnight kiss had always been an important part of his life, so Charlotte and her family ensured someone phoned him each evening to do that.  Getting out and about himself wasn’t possible physically, so instead he enjoyed virtual days out with his granddaughter who took him round gardens and the beach. He was also able to chat to relatives in Ireland and America. 

When deteriorating health meant moving into a home for respite care, the smart phone went with him.

“He let other residents use it as well and said tapping into the technological world was ‘blooming marvellous’,” said Charlotte. “It made a huge difference to him and was brilliant for me and my family too because we could see him and, when he wasn’t looking well, were able to alert paramedics or his carers. It kept us close.”

Although her grandad sadly passed away in September 2019, Charlotte was determined that other elderly people should enjoy the same connectivity benefits as he had. She and her partner Louise set up Surrounded by Love on Facebook and began asking friends and relatives to donate redundant devices which were then restored to factory settings. The latest beneficiaries to receive two iPads are Cornwall Care’s Trevarna and Woodland homes in St Austell.

“Charlotte got in touch to offer them and we couldn’t have been more delighted,” said Andrea Redfern, Cornwall Care’s Employment Engagement and Well-Being Advisor. “In the current situation, it’s never been more important for residents to able to keep in touch with loved ones in the outside world and being able to talk to them via video is wonderful.

“I’m sure Charlotte’s grandad would be extremely proud of all that she is doing.”

Anyone who has old devices to donate should contact Charlotte through the following Facebook page.