Practicing physical isolation does not mean that social connections need be abandoned but for elderly adults living in nursing homes, it may take a village and a little creativity to help residents feel less alone and more hopeful. In London, United Kingdom, the CHD Living nursing home company has created a program that allows volunteers to “adopt a grandparent” and help seniors stay connected and engaged.
According to a recent iHeart Radio post, CHD owns 13 nursing homes around London. They are inviting English-speaking volunteers worldwide to apply to become a virtual volunteer. The aim of the program is to keep elderly nursing home residents mentally stimulated and boost their spirits during the COVID-19 crisis.
Elderly adults are among the most vulnerable and are more likely to become seriously ill as a result of coronavirus infection. While in isolation for their protection and unable to visit with friends and family, anxiety and fear can become overwhelming. Volunteers will be paired with an elderly resident who has shared interests, each home will be provided with a Facebook Portal device and staff will be trained to assist seniors with the technology.
To learn more or apply to adopt a grandparent with CHD Living, follow this link.
While there may not be a formal program at your local nursing home, it would be worth a call to see if there are seniors who could benefit from receiving letters, poems or artwork to brighten their day. Some facilities may also be helping elderly residents visit with loved ones using tablets and smartphones but there are always some seniors who don’t have family to check in on them regularly. A friendly voice or face can be a bright spot in the day of a senior in isolation. This idea also works for isolated seniors in your neighbourhood.
While the kids are home indefinitely, parents may want to consider ways they can lift the spirits of a senior in their community. Helping others by delivering groceries, visiting through a window, writing letters or calling someone living alone can be a great way to cope with stress and anxiety. Stay home, stay safe and check in on your neighbor.