Since the beginning of 2020, Long-Term Care homes around the world have been largely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two years later, homes continue to be affected as new waves and variants spontaneously spread. The Omicron variant is proven to spread more frequently, thus numerous residents, staff and health care workers have recently tested positive for COVID-19 all throughout Ontario.
Due to the rise of Omicron, general visitors and social absences for residents have been banned. These restrictions have brought feelings of social isolation, loneliness, and rejection to those residents confined to their rooms. Though mandated isolation keeps residents safer, companionship, emotional support, in-person contact and social engagement – the human elements – are currently near to non-existent. Combined with poor health, cognitive impairment, and psychological distress, the risk of social isolation and loneliness is painful and can lead to other detrimental health outcomes.
Here are 10 ways to help isolated residents not feel lonely.
- Get in touch with the Recreation Department to let them know what kind of music, TV shows, or movies your loved one enjoys. Number 705-445-6501 ext 222 (Long-Term Care) or 229 (Retirement Home)
- Drop off a smartphone, iPad, tablet, or portable DVD player so your loved one can stay connected and entertained.
- Contact the Recreation Department to schedule a video call with your loved one using FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom.
- Write your loved one a letter to offer some words of affirmation and encouragement. Remind them how resilient they are and that better days are coming.
- Call your loved one over the phone to have a conversation with them.
- If you are an Essential Designated Caregiver, you can book a visit to see your loved one through our online portal on our website. If you would like to become an Essential Designated Caregiver, please contact us directly to set you up for it. Number 705-445-6501 ext 222 (Long-Term Care) or 229 (Retirement Home)
- Drop off your loved one’s favourite snacks, books, pop, candy, essentials, or even fast food like McDonalds or Tim Hortons.
- Send your loved one photo’s of you and your entire family so they can see and have a physical copy of the photo in their room. Photos of grandkids, great grandkids, and pets always put a smile on their face.
- Include your loved ones on special occasions. Call them on their birthday or include them while having Thanksgiving Dinner or Christmas via video call so they feel like they are there with you.
- Schedule an appointment with Rogers or Bell to set up cable TV in their rooms. Live TV is always a great source of entertainment.
Communication and your presences are very important for the residents during these challenging times. A simple gesture or phone call can go a long way in helping the resident not feel lonely and isolated in their rooms. More than ever, this is crucial, and we encourage everyone to do their part in making our residents feel included in your lives.
Resident in isolation due to COVID-19 Pandemic.