Lockdown created a number of challenges for care homes and assisted living facilities, and primary among them was maintaining the health of residents.
However, it’s key to remember that health does not just encompass the physical; mental wellbeing is just as important when it comes to the care of the elderly.
As a home for the elderly in Darlington, we understand how vital it is to take a holistic approach to assisted living, and how human connections play an important role in both mental and physical health.
The dangers of loneliness
Far from simply being a mental health issue, loneliness and social isolation can have a negative impact on physical wellbeing too.
Research has shown that feeling lonely is linked to higher rates of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and dementia. Perhaps unsurprisingly, findings also suggest that those who are lonely are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.
The human touch
During lockdown, it was more important than ever to support our residents with a range of innovative idea. Our resourceful staff found a number of creative ways to provide entertainment and keep residents’ spirits up, such as a pen-pal scheme, activity packs, games, virtual tours and exercise classes.
Our dedicated staff also spent increased amounts of 1:1 time with each resident to lower the risk of social isolation.
The importance of family
While opportunities for face-to-face interactions were naturally limited during the early days of lockdown and social distancing, Abbeyfield staff pulled out all the stops to keep our residents in touch with their loved ones.
The team were always on-hand to support residents to stay in touch with their loved ones through regular letters and phone calls.
We also created a series of easy-to-use graphics to help our more tech-savvy residents chat to their family and friends virtually through video-calling apps.
As well as facilitating communication with others, it was also important for us to ensure residents kept their minds active and engaged throughout lockdown.
From tasty recipes and simple exercise routines to crosswords, word searches and sudoku puzzles, our team put together a comprehensive activity pack for residents to enjoy – making sure there was something for everyone!
As restrictions have eased, it’s been wonderful to see residents reconnect with their family and friends. However, their health is still our top priority, and so we have imposed a number of guidelines to keep everyone as safe as possible.
- Visits are still limited to outdoors – either in the gardens or through a ground-floor window
- Visits are by appointment only, and are restricted to 30 minutes
- Gifts are still prohibited
- Visitors must adhere to sanitizing, face covering and distancing guidelines
For more information about how we have ensured the health of our residents over the coronavirus pandemic, visit www.abbeyfield.com/