8 December

Delcie is combatting loneliness thanks to new digital skills

Thanks to some guidance from our colleagues, Delcie has now become a whizz at using Skype to hold daily catch-ups with those closest to her.
Delcie Taylor

The lockdown has denied many people the chance to have face-to-face contact with their loved ones.

For those familiar with using modern technology, there are a host of ways to keep in touch with friends and family.

But for those who are not as tech savvy, it could prove a challenge.

Delcie Taylor, 91, is a great example of someone who has learned to adapt to technology to ease her loneliness during lockdown.

Delcie is the life and soul of social activities at Devonport Views, an extra care housing scheme in the heart of Plymouth.

But with communal areas forced to close over the past eight months, it has led to some older people struggling to speak to their loved ones.

Yet Delcie was determined to keep in touch with friends and family using her iPad.

And thanks to some guidance from our colleagues, Delcie has now become a whizz at using Skype to hold daily catch-ups with those closest to her. 

Delcie said: “It is really sad that we can’t be together at the moment, it is difficult for everyone.

“I am 91 now and I never thought I would experience anything like this.

“We have got a lovely big lounge here at Devonport Views where we can usually sit together and have a laugh.

“We also have lots of social events, but this has all had to stop now because of the virus.

“It is a case of either being in the garden or in your room.

“But you can’t just feel sorry for yourself, you have to find a way to get on with things.

“Before lockdown, LiveWest did some training here to help us with using technology.

“It helped me to get to grips with my iPad and I use it all the time now.

“It means I can keep in touch with my daughter-in-law in Spain, my sister and I also speak to my niece in Gloucester. I use Skype to contact people every day as it gives me some company.

“It really is my lifeline as without it I wouldn’t be able to keep in touch with anyone.

“I also use it for memories. I can go and visit my old bungalow on my iPad and also walk down the street where my husband used to live in Birmingham.”

Delcie was born in Plymouth in 1929 and married her first husband, Harry, in 1947. They were married for 49 years.

Her whole family were in the fruit wholesale business in the city and ran Drakes of Devonport Market.

After losing her first husband in 1996, Delcie eventually remarried but sadly lost her second husband, Alan, in 2015.

Delcie moved to Devonport Views with Alan in 2011 and has been happy there ever since.

Delcie, who is a talented pianist, added: “My second husband had bad legs and couldn’t manage the stairs where we were before, so we were looking to move somewhere which would make it easier for him.

“We spotted Devonport Views as they were digging out the foundations and were lucky enough to be accepted for a flat there.

“I love it here. Mark Badham (LiveWest Activities Coordinator) is just amazing. 

“He is so helpful and goes out of his way to help and support all of the residents. He is one in a million. Without him here, I don’t know what I’d do.”

As for her secret to a long and healthy life, Delcie, who has a sister in Plymouth aged 88, added: “I go for a walk every day – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Exercise is so important.

“I have been very lucky with my life and a virus will not dampen my spirits.”

Mark Badham said: “I have known Delcie for five years. She is such a character and an absolute star.

“She was one of the first to move to Devonport Views and she has always joined in with every activity.

“She is always joyful, goes out of her way to make others feel comfortable and has so much energy for her age.

“She is brilliant on the piano and I play the guitar so before lockdown we formed a bit of a double act to keep the residents entertained.

“In normal times she always had a flood of visitors such is her popularity. 

“But Delcie has not let coronavirus affect her positive outlook on life and she has excelled at using her iPad to keep in contact with friends and family.

“For the last three years, we have been supporting the residents to use technology and Delcie was always at the front of the line to give things a go. She is a true inspiration.”

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