Residents in social care have had a particularly difficult time as the rest of the world tries to adapt to coronavirus. Social distancing and isolation have meant the most vulnerable people in our society aren’t seeing people, aren’t experiencing the outside world and aren’t getting the same level of exercise.
Awareness of loneliness among seniors was building momentum before COVID-19 struck, and promoting good mental health is a big subject in itself. Luckily, there are several ways residents can stay connected to the people closest to them, but if there is already little-to-no contact, they might just need a nudge in the right direction to encourage them to get involved.
With your resident’s consent, our Connect feature allows them to simply share care updates with family, friends and health professionals through a dedicated CareDocs Connect website. It’s designed to keep the people closest to your residents informed and involved with the care process. The contacts can also send messages, files and photos back to your resident. Perfect as a means to send encouragement or just to check in and let them know they’re thinking of them.
Catching up over video has become massively popular since social distancing was introduced. With phones, tablets and laptops having integrated cameras and dedicated video calling devices like Facebook Portal being introduced to the market, it’s never been so easy to talk face-to-face from afar.
Apps like Zoom and House Party are becoming popular alternatives to household names like Skype and FaceTime, with the latter offering a more interactive and fun experience involving games and quizzes. Video chat is becoming a normal alternative to phone calls and should be encouraged amongst residents. A whole family can join in a call and get creative or active, or arrange a group chat between different care homes so friends can see each other, or to form new friendships.
Make Phone Calls a Social Event
It wouldn’t surprise us if speaking to family and friends on the phone is the most comfortable method of communicating amongst older residents, but it doesn’t have to just be talking about their day. Try to engage them in other discussions by suggesting making the phone call an event to discuss something they enjoy.
This could mean starting a book club and giving participants an opportunity to share thoughts. Other possible ideas include creating a sewing circle and issuing challenges to each others ideas on what their next project should be, watching TV or a movie together and discussing it over loud speaker, coming up with new exercise routines to do in the living room, playing basic games like Hangman or creating new ones like researching interesting facts from a recent year to which the other person has to guess the year they relate to.
Pop a Letter in the Post
Some residents may prefer the more traditional approach of receiving a physical letter and keeping it close to read again or show off to the people in their home. It gives their family or friends a chance to include drawings, stories, poems and fun personal messages – things that wouldn’t necessarily be said live on a phone call.
Encourage creative games, like who can draw the best self-portrait. It will also allow the resident to take their time and write their responses at their own leisure and discuss it with others if they wish to get some feedback.
Encourage Weekly Task Volunteering
With care worker appreciation gaining more public support as the weeks go by, the nation has declared it’s ready to chip in and volunteer if needed, as like the recent NHS volunteer plea which saw an overwhelming response. If there are any personal tasks the resident’s loved ones can do to help out, extend the offer to them. Simple but essential tasks will go along way for all parties.
By keeping your residents socially active it better prepares them for their eventual return to normal life. Interacting with people might not seem so daunting, going outside again becomes easier, getting exercise becomes more enjoyable. Staying in touch takes little effort but for many residents the benefits could have a huge positive impact to their overall health.
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