Norridge seniors use technology to stay in touch on holidays
Thanks to a computer and the Internet calling service known as Skype, Lorna Bargiel was able to talk Monday with her daughter, Paula Bargiel, who is living in England. This will be their first Christmas apart. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 3:36PM
Technology brought family together for the holidays.
Using Skype, Lorna Bargiel, a resident of Central Baptist Village in Norridge, connected with her daughter, Paula, who is living in Wivenhoe, Essex, which is northeast of London.
Skype is a free Internet calling system that allows people to talk to each other through their computers, no matter where they are. And if your computer has a camera, the person you’re calling can see you as well as hear you.
Maybe that’s old news to some readers. But it made it no less special for Bargiel. This is the first Christmas she and her daughter have been apart.
The two spoke for more than an hour, catching up on the news and comparing the weather.
“This was very exciting,” Lorna Bargiel said afterward.
“It’s definitely better than a phone call,” she added. “And it’s easy to do.”
Her daughter agreed. It was her first time on Skype, too.
“Twenty years ago, we never would have been able to do this,” Paula Bargiel said. “We’re so cut off out here.”
Using Skype to communicate is so much better, she noted.
“Otherwise it would be tremendously difficult,” she said, adding this was her first time using Skype.
The session was the first facilitated by Darrin Smaha, a social worker at the residential center.
“A lot of the people here use the computers for emails,” he said. “Some of the newer residents pay their bills online.”
But the Christmas Eve call to London was the center’s first Skype session.
“This is such a remarkable thing,” Central Baptist spokesman Julie Stevens said.
Smaha noted the center recently upgrades its computers, which are housed in the first-floor library.
“They have a touch screen, which seems to be easier to use than the mouse,” he said.
The center also has one computer that allows residents to play games or cards electronically.
The card games and emails serve as an introduction to technology, Smaha said
“As they become more comfortable with the technology, we want to be able to offers additional options.”