Stockport Council has begun distributing tablet computers around local care homes to help their residents stay in touch with their families during the coronavirus lockdown.
It has so far passed on 67 tablets and plans to provide another 20 to its in-house learning disability supported living schemes.
It decided on taking the step after recognising that face-to-face visits from families had been restricted due to the pandemic.
Martin Sorrell, manager of the Ashbourn House Care Home, said it had had the use of Skype for some time, but its old Android tablet was unreliable and unable to accept a Google upgrade.
"Since the arrival of our new tablet, thanks to Stockport Council, we have further advertised the use of technology to Ashbourne House friends and family and have fully embraced Whatsapp, which allows full families to virtually meet and chat to their loved ones,” he said.
"It still amazes me that people from all over the world have been able to reconnect. I think at this time of great uncertainty, families need to reconnect, and this has been a great tonic for residents and relatives alike.
"Residents have connected with friends and family from all over the world, including a brother from Canada, grandchildren from South Africa and friends from Spain."
He added that, although the home has Wi-Fi, it also has thick walls and rooms far from the router, and the addition of a 4G facility has greatly improved the connection.
Councillor Kate Butler, cabinet member for citizen focus and engagement, said: “A key part of our digital inclusion efforts with care homes as we move forward is the work with our Digiknow partners to ensure the appropriate support is there for our residents as they embrace this technology.”
Image from Stockport Council