Help seniors connect during the pandemic
While senior living residents are at high risk for contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19), they also are in great danger from another life-threatening condition—social isolation. As facilities strive to protect their residents, seniors are suffering depression and loneliness due to lack of activity and interaction, according to new study by Indiana University researchers. But there are creative ways senior living facility staff can help decrease their feelings of isolation. Church Mutual provides insurance for many facilities that have come up with inventive ideas for keeping seniors connected.
Schedule window visits
While some facilities have shared concerns that newly-popular “window visits” (visits in which loved ones connect with seniors through their windows, often talking to them over the phone at the same time) encourage crowding outside the facility, there are ways to make them work. Create a sign-up sheet for window visits, restricting residents to their scheduled time for outside interaction.
Video calls aren’t just for schoolchildren or those in the working force! Of course, it’s important to work with residents so their loved ones can participate in video calls with them. But they could benefit from other virtual interactions, as well. Reach out to local schools, scout groups and other organizations to arrange video calls. It’s no secret that many seniors love seeing children, and the physical limitations of the pandemic doesn’t mean you can’t find other ways of putting smiles on their faces.
Create activity kits
If the pandemic has hampered your ability to gather residents for community-building activities, bring the activities to them. Put together personalized packets for everyone in the building, chock-full of whatever they enjoy doing—paint-by-numbers kits, knitting, woodworking or cross-stitch.
Be creative with staffing
Many facilities are stretched thin with staffing, which makes it difficult to find time for the above activities. If your organization falls into that category, consider reaching out to a nearby university, community college or technical school. There may be students who are pursuing a profession in elder care, therapeutic recreation, health care or even informational technology who would welcome the opportunity for an internship.
Church Mutual is here for all your facility’s needs and questions. You can find more information regarding both your risk control and insurance questions at churchmutual.com.