It is no secret that older adults are more at risk for illnesses including COVID-19. In fact, individuals who are over the age of 80 are 184 times more likely to die from COVID-19 if they contract it than younger people. Keeping these facts in mind, nursing homes all over the world are doing their best to keep residents safe, healthy, and social during the current pandemic.
One way that nursing homes are combatting loneliness during the pandemic is by encouraging relationships in a way that is compliant with social distancing guidelines. Some nursing homes are working with residents to schedule virtual video calls with family members to make sure that they are still having the opportunity to talk with family members even when visitors are not permitted at the nursing home.
Some nursing homes are having younger employees or volunteers take the lead on scheduling digital visits. This pairing is a great way for volunteers to demonstrate their knowledge of fun technology and create relationships with residents while connecting them with their families.
Something else that nursing home staff is doing to encourage relationships is spending more time with residents. Since residents do not have any outside visitors, staff are doing their best to take time to visit with residents on a daily basis.
Nursing homes are being proactive when it comes to identifying loneliness during the pandemic. Since nursing home residents are seen by nurses and staff daily, they are constantly being monitored. This allows nurses and staff to keep an eye on everyone’s mental health and degree of loneliness that residents may be experiencing.
Nurses and staff aren’t the only ones who are watching out for residents’ mental health. Doctors are also doing their best to check in with residents about their mental health when they see them. Nursing home residents check in with doctors more frequently than elderly adults who are living at home. If residents are not able to physically go to the doctor, they can schedule a telehealth visit with the help of nursing home staff. Nursing home staff connect them with their doctor and stay with them for the duration of the appointment in case the resident has any questions.