This is straight-up one of the best ideas anyone has come up with to cope with the recent coronavirus crisis plaguing the world.
Before the pandemic broke out, loneliness had been a major cause for concern among the elderly . Chronic loneliness in elderly people potentially can lead to a decline in physical health and wellbeing, and it’s shocking how easy it is to be socially isolated as a person grows older.
These days, the situation has gone from bad to worse as the world battles a lethal pandemic that is reported to be more severe in older persons, who would usually be dealing with underlying medical conditions and generally immunosuppression . While there have been reports of elderly people recovering from the virus, prevention is the better option and senior citizens have to stay completely isolated for optimum safety.
However, nursing homes and care facilities are especially susceptible to outbreaks. According to reports from The Guardian, nursing homes across the United States have recorded approximately 4,800 deaths caused by the virus .
A lot of these care facilities did not initially have the appropriate protective gear for the staff or adequate information on safety measures. Visitors continued to traipse in and out long after the numbers began to rise exponentially in the country.
These days, however, tighter restrictions are in place at nursing facilities all over the U.S. to give the elderly the best possible protection. People are no longer allowed to visit nursing homes and in many facilities, the residents can’t also visit with one another.
While the protocols have to be upheld for their safety, these senior citizens are now battling with loneliness more than ever.
Adopt grandparents to keep them happy
An aged care services company in England, CHD Living (Creating Happiness Daily) has set up an online adoption program to enable people to reach out to the lonely grandparents . The award-winning care company owns 13 care homes in Surrey and South London and has been operating since 1984.
The company needs volunteers to keep the emotionally vulnerable residents company over the phone and video calls. They could also write one another and keep up via email. The company is looking to pair as many of their charges as possible, especially the ones who may not have children, grandchildren or surviving family members to look out for them.
“We launched our ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ campaign to bring a sense of comfort to young people and the elderly who may not have grandparents/grandchildren of their own, with the aim of creating long-lasting intergenerational friendships,” the company wrote on their website. “What started as a local search, reaching out to those local to our home, soon became a global campaign, with kind and considerate individuals hailing from as far as Australia to help bring some happiness to those we care for.”
“The nature of care means that we’re looking after some of the most vulnerable members of society at the moment,” Shaleeza Hasham, Head of Hospitality, Communications & Commissioning at CHD said in a press release. “We are however keen to keep spirits in the homes high and so have been thinking of ways that we can continue to enrich the lives of our residents whilst providing them with stimulation and companionship.”
The requirements are simple
For persons under the age of 16, the management specified that they would require parental/guardian permission to proceed with the program.
In the application form, there’s a field to fill in your location so you’d be matched with residents in the nearest care homes to you.
The management would set up Facebook Portal TV for the residents and the families who volunteer to look after them. They can also communicate through phone calls, emails, and letters, just like pen pals. The volunteers are required to send cheerful pictures/stories/poems (post or email) to the residents and generally keep them mentally active.
You can sign up with this form on the company’s page.
- Loneliness in older people. NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/loneliness-in-older-people/. Retrieved 15-04-2020
- Sarah Adler. Why Coronaviruses Hit Older Adults Hardest. AARP. https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/coronavirus-severe-seniors.html. Retrieved 15-04-2020
- Chris McGreal. ‘We’re living in fear’: why US nursing homes became incubators for the coronavirus. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/15/were-living-in-fear-why-us-nursing-homes-became-incubators-for-the-coronavirus. Retrieved 15-04-2020
- Dave Basner. Nursing Home Lets You ‘Adopt’ A Lonely Grandparent In Isolation. iHeart. https://www.iheart.com/content/2020-03-26-nursing-home-lets-you-adopt-a-lonely-grandparent-in-isolation/. Retrieved 15-04-2020
- Ryan Fahey. 103-year-old Iranian woman ‘makes full recovery’ from coronavirus after being in hospital for a week. Mail Online. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8125603/103-year-old-Iranian-woman-makes-recovery-coronavirus.html. Retrieved 15-04-2020
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