With the Coronavirus spreading its way around the world and so many of us having to isolate ourselves away from our normal daily routine, working from home and living cheek by jowl with other family members. Spare a thought for those living in care and residential homes who are now deprived of visits from family and friends?
These visits are often the only link to their past life, people that know them intimately and have shared history and experiences. Staff at the home may be kindly and efficient but cannot substitute for these special relationships.
Many older people may have difficulty in writing letters but enjoy receiving one sent to them with maybe a cheerful card or child’s painting included. Phone calls are also invaluable, but how much better if you can actually see the person you are talking to? How much better interaction is when you can ‘read’ facial expression and gestures alongside speech?
All this is now possible thanks to technology whizz. There are now a number of free communication apps that allow people to see each other via a video link. These come in the form of Skype, Zoom, Face Time or WhatsApp. If family members can load the app onto their device (laptop, tablet or mobile) and liaise with the care home for an email address there, then a convenient time can be arranged to have the call.
You can set up a group call where several family members can join in – this would be especially good if there is a birthday celebration – why not arrange for a small cake, party hat and balloons to be sent to the care home in advance and then all enjoy it simultaneously! Younger children could show pictures they have drawn and then post at a later date. So many possibilities so what are you waiting for?
If you have an older loved one currently staying in a care home, make their day and arrange to have a video call this week.