7 Apr 2020

Aged care residents continue being social while physically distant

Seniors Living
Our aged care services are finding creative alternatives to engage residents and keep them active while expanding their digital literacy to help them remain connected with their loved ones.

To support residents impacted by restrictions on visits and spatial distancing measures, the not-for-profit provider continues to work with staff, residents and families to ensure social connection while being physically distant.

“A crisis like this affects everyone, and an emotional response to its impact is normal. In aged care, self-isolation can be quite daunting, and people can experience feelings of anxiety, boredom and frustration,” Anne McGill, General Manager Residential Aged Care, said.

“Residents have been incredibly positive and a wonderful encouragement to our staff. They have so much lived experience and use this to maintain their resilience,” she said.

Churches of Christ in Queensland has delivered iPads to all of its aged care services in Queensland and Victoria to support residents to connect online with their family and loved ones

Through phone calls, instructional videos and information sheets, residents have been learning how to operate online platforms such as email, Skype, Facebook, and YouTube.

The iPads are Skype and FaceTime enabled to allow family and friends to schedule virtual visits. These devices are helping many residents maintain social connections in a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“FaceTime and Skype are a wonderful way to share laughter when you are unable to speak with somebody face to face,” Ms McGill said.

“We are encouraging our residents and their families to use the technology that is available or drop off devices for residents’ personal use. It’s not the same as actually being able to visit, but is a good temporary substitute until things return to normal.

“We don’t know how long these restrictions will be in place, but our biggest responsibility remains the health and safety of our residents, their families, and our staff,” Ms McGill said.

The virtual visits are just one of dozens of new activities and ways of doing things that each Churches of Christ in Queensland aged care service has implemented to put an emphasis on residents remaining socially connected while being physically distant.

“Many of our aged care services have a strong community of volunteers, and our residents have access to chaplaincy support services,” Ms McGill said.

As those who have been to a Churches of Christ in Queensland aged care service know, it is often the connection to spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing that draws families and residents to the service.

“Our aged care staff are doing a terrific job by maintaining a holistic program. We’ve noticed a positive increase in the advocacy of our staff for our residents,” Ms McGill said.

Churches of Christ in Queensland aged care services have placed an emphasis on maintaining resident mental and physical wellbeing with exercise, crafts and trivia.

The services have organised activities such as one-on-one lawn games, an arts and crafts trolley, and quiz games to keep both the mind and body active.

“I am happy to go outside and exercise by walking freely in the inner courtyard without a lot of people around. I enjoy the games that are offered on small game stations and the support of staff to stay active with lawn bowls, ten pin bowling and other activities, which are always changing,” said Stanthorpe Aged Care Service resident Jocelyn O’Reilly.

Families continue to send letters, care packages and videos to their loved ones in the aged care service, with one resident receiving a USB with a video message from their grandchildren.

Churches of Christ in Queensland is invested in managing the positive wellbeing of residents, that promotes meaningful ageing and living life to the full so every resident can feel comfortable, safe, valued, that they belong and have meaningful things to do and have opportunities to socialise and connect to the community.

In response to the declared COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Churches of Christ in Queensland has now implemented measures across all aged care services to ensure the health and safety of residents. Read the latest COVID-19 response.