Keeping in touch with loved ones living in aged care during COVID-19 is essential for their wellbeing and your own. Here’s our tips on how to stay engaged, even if you can’t visit as often as you’d like.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we all live, and older Australians living in aged care have been among those whose way of life has had to change the most.
The medical evidence indicates that older people are more susceptible to the virus than younger people, so aged care homes have had to take put in place strict rules about visitation for the families of their residents, who would ordinarily be able to come and go as frequently as they wish to visit their loved one.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government requires aged care homes to significantly limit the number of visits their residents can have from their family, the length of these visits, and several other visitor limitations that you can read more about here. Some aged care providers have chosen to go even further than these government restrictions and effectively halt visits altogether, with exceptions made in end-of-life situations.
Of course, the health and safety of older people must always be the number one concern of aged care homes. But this doesn’t mean that residents have now been completely cut off from their families.
Many aged care homes are doing a great job of using technology and other means to ensure their residents stay connected to their friends, loved ones and the community beyond the bounds of the aged care home itself.
Some of the best examples we have seen over recent weeks include:
- The purchasing of new iPads and tablets to help ensure aged care residents can and do connect regularly with their families via Skype or other video-call apps;
- An increase in internal social activities, such as exercise, arts and craft classes, movie nights and other activities that can be done in-house in place of excursions that aged care homes typically ran prior to the pandemic; and
- Letter writing campaigns and other outreach campaigns from local groups and schools to help aged care residents feel engaged with their community.
Although none of these initiatives can fully replace the importance of face-to-face connection with family, friends and loved ones, they can certainly help to enhance resident wellbeing and ensure residents don’t feel isolated or alone during the pandemic.
And the good news is that many of these innovations will continue to be possible when the lockdown ceases, meaning even more opportunities for aged care residents to stay engaged and connected in their communities.
If you’re looking for aged care for yourself or a loved one, be sure to ask any homes you are considering about what visitor restrictions they currently have in place, and what they’re doing to ensure residents are able to stay connected to the people that are important to them for the duration of the pandemic.