St. Andrew’s is connecting residents to the outside world during the pandemic
Social distancing measures during the pandemic have undoubtedly saved lives, especially those of our valuable seniors, but social isolation has also been a worrying factor. Fortunately, technology is helping everyone residents and families stay connected during these different times.
One of the easiest ways seniors are staying connected to the outside world is through the use of social media. These require a very low-level of expertise to use, making it perfect for residents who might be a bit technology-hesitant. Facebook is one of the most popular among our residents, as it allows seniors to stay fully informed about their families’ activities and milestones, letting them see pictures, videos, and text. Social media also makes it easy for seniors to catch up with older friends and contemporaries. We’ve found that virtual reunions are very popular, and they will continue to proliferate even after the current pandemic is over, as they eliminate the need for long-distance travel, which is difficult for certain higher-care residents. All our communities are glad to help residents establish a social media account, and we also help residents stay safe while using different websites.
Beyond a basic internet presence, video chats are helping prevent social isolation. It seems like only a few years ago that widespread video phone calls were the stuff of science fiction; now, the options seem limitless, and often require nothing more elaborate than a basic smartphone. Being able to interact with loved ones in real time is the closest thing we’ve found to in-person visits, and they can lift the spirits of both residents and families. Like virtual reunions, we think video chats will continue to have an important place in our communities, even after visitors are allowed back in regularly.
Even with the proliferation of smartphones, laptops, and tablets, some residents are not able to access technology on their own, either due to expense or difficulty to learn. Most of our communities now have shared devices that residents can use to view social media or make video calls. These devices are completely disinfected between uses to promote safe use, and our friendly staff is always thrilled to help residents who may not understand how to use the various devices.
Although face-to-face contact can never be replaced by technology, the current pandemic has allowed us to show our residents other ways to stay connected with family and friends. Many of the technological advances will be here to stay even after we return to normal, and we will continue to bring our residents the best of both the real and the virtual world!