As the rest of the planet struggles with the concept of changing their habits to minimise risk, aged care workers are providing the blueprint on how to keep calm under pressure.

While emotions of fear and uncertainty are understandable at a time like this, nursing homes around the globe are getting creative with their activities to ensure that residents remain as happy and stress-free as possible during isolation.

One example of this clever thinking comes from an aged care home in Wales that decided to play a real-life version of the iconic Hungry Hungry Hippos board game.

Laughter filled the room as residents, who were aged between 80 and 102-years-old, sat in wheelchairs that were being pushed by staff members and competed to see who could capture the most colored balls using brooms with boxes attached to them.

Bingo is a staple activity in aged care that has been known to bring out the competitive spirit in the most docile of residents.

While the majority of bingo lovers are used to being huddled together as await their elusive numbers, new social distancing protocols have resulted in a new twist being placed on this activity.

Aged care facilities around the globe are now playing ‘Hallway Bingo’ which allows residents to participate in the game from the doorway of their own rooms and still maintain a safe distance from other residents.

Hallway bingo

And if the laughter and passionate cries of “bingo” are anything to go by, residents have easily adapted to the new playing field.

One of the biggest challenges facing aged care providers is maintaining a connection between their residents and the outside world.

Visitors provide both an emotional connection and peace of mind for residents and their family members, as technologies that have historically been shunned by some residents are now proving to be invaluable to maintain contact.

Smartphones and tablets are helping to fill the void created by the ban on in-person visits, by adding the visual element to go along with the voice of a resident’s loved one.

A number of aged care staff members are now scheduling in ‘virtual visits’ for residents on their homes mobile devices while assisting them with applications like Skype and FaceTime.

The value of technology has been on full-show throughout the recent Covid-19 restrictions, but this period of isolation has also seen a resurgence in one of the most time-honoured forms of communication.

Letter writing is giving residents a chance to share their thoughts in a familiar manner that doesn’t require an internet connection, and some communities in the US are encouraging kids to write letters to their local aged care residents.

The Laurel View Village aged care home in the US state of Pennsylvania has even come up with a clever way to integrate letter writing with technology, as they have started sharing their residents’ “Letters-to-Home” on the facilities’ Facebook page.

These posts include photos of residents holding posters and letters that let their families and friends know exactly how they’re going.

The current restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent isolation, have forced many of us to reassess what matters, with many families coming to the conclusion that they may have taken previous opportunities for granted.

Hopefully, this trying time gives our planet an increased awareness of the value of seniors, and a newfound respect for those who care for them.

Photo Courtesy of Bryn Celyn Care Home

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