It is well known that this virus seriously affects those who are elderly, more than those who are young. This is why our Seniors Ministry is working hard to ensure our seniors are receiving as much support as possible, while keeping our social distance.
Unfortunately, with the serious threat of infection and the feelings of anxiety that come with it, we have found some seniors cancelling their in home services to protect themselves. In addition, due to the loss of weekly outings to the shops and other events, as well as reduced contact with friends and family, a number of clients have expressed increased feelings of loneliness.
Acting General Manager of Home Care Services, Illy Tohi, describes one situation of a client our Home Care team has helped through the crisis.
“A client was identified as feeling unwell through one of our COVID-19 phone risk assessments and unfortunately the client’s family could not assist to take her to the clinic for a medical examination.
“So, one of our trained Community Care Workers (using Personal Protective Equipment - PPE) attended to the client’s needs. The worker transported her to the clinic for a test, and supported her home again. As the client waited for her test results, our worker reassured the client it is still safe to continue receiving services and was able to support the client through this time.”
To help our seniors through days spent in isolation we have increased the capacity for our Well-being Callers Program. This program utilises volunteers to make regular calls to clients who are stuck at home, to check in on them and see how they are going. These simple and compassionate calls show clients that we care, and that they are not forgotten.
Additionally, our Senior Services team has initiated a new program to help clients stay connected to their loved ones virtually through a technology loan service. If a client is not set up with any technology at home, one of our Community Support Workers can loan them a piece of equipment, set them up at home, and teach them how to communicate with their friends and family through video calls.
Another new service that has been developed to support seniors through this time is our ‘Isolation Packs’. Packs are delivered to clients’ homes and contain a wide variety of information on additional services they might like and activities to keep them entertained including crosswords, Sudoku puzzles and colouring in. The packs also include a comforting holy card and a survey to learn what they might like to receive in future care packages.
The health, safety and wellbeing of our elderly are our top priority. We are proud to serve and care for those who need a little extra help to live happily and independently in their own homes. We will continue to grow and develop our services to suit the changing needs of our clients.