Surrey based care home group, CHD Living are asking members of the public to 'virtually volunteer' and befriend their elderly residents
In a bid to combat the falling rate of visitors as a response to the Government’s advice to self isolate, the wonderful ‘Adopt A Grandparent’ initiative aims to combat feelings of loneliness and isolation for elderly residents during this difficult time.
In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, the newly digitised campaign is welcoming virtual volunteers who might suddenly find themselves with a little more free time, encouraging them to reach out to a new friend. Through video calling, volunteers can regularly speak with their assigned grandparent to offer friendship and relief from the recent outbreak
The ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ scheme first launched last year. It has seen countless local children and adults who don’t have grandparents of their own, paired with residents to provide company and companionship.
In light of recent school closures, the care home group welcome letters, drawings and poetry from children and are looking to get as many young people involved to provide mental stimulation for residents, and an enriching activity for children.
“We are however keen to keep spirits in the homes high and so have been thinking of ways that we can continue to enrich the lives of our residents whilst providing them with stimulation and companionship. "
Shaleeza Hasham, Head of Hospitality, Communications & Commissioning at CHD Living, said: “The nature of care means that we’re looking after some of the most vulnerable members of society at the moment. It’s a worrying time and we’re taking the threat of coronavirus incredibly seriously, putting stringent processes and protocols in place to protect our residents as much as possible.
“We are however keen to keep spirits in the homes high and so have been thinking of ways that we can continue to enrich the lives of our residents whilst providing them with stimulation and companionship. It made sense at this time to digitise the ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ campaign and to recruit further volunteers who might like to help keep our residents company over the coming weeks. It will be a wonderful distraction for everyone involved.”
The initiative has seen a huge uptake in volunteers offering their time, with over 30 sign ups so far for March. If you would like to enrol as a virtual volunteer across one of the 13 care homes in Surrey and London, CHD Living is asking you to enter a few simple details via their website.
If you are struggling with your own feelings of isolation and loneliness, know that you aren't alone and help is available right now. If you need to talk to someone in a non-judgement, safe space, Samaritans are available 24/7, with trained volunteers on hand to take your call.
We’ve compiled a guide on how to look after your mental health in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak, and do reach out to a counsellor, many of whom offer online counselling, if you need further support.