How is loneliness affected by social isolation?
We’re all coping with the effects of social distancing differently, but for those in care, it might be more difficult. Limits on social interaction can negatively affect mental health and well-being, and in some cases make health conditions worse. With social distancing measures in action many care homes have closed to visitors, and people using care services are often self-isolated or have had many of their social visits and activities cancelled.
What can be done to promote contact during a lockdown?
Social distancing measures makes combatting loneliness more challenging. But that’s where technology really comes into its own. In a world where we are more apart than ever before, technology is helping people to feel close to their loved ones and families.
Even a quick chat with someone over the phone or a video call once a week with a loved one can do wonders to boost someone’s well-being and help combat loneliness.
Phones calls and scheduling
Having regular phone calls with loved ones at allotted times gives people something to look forward to and replicates a normal routine. A phone call could be anything from a quick catch up or could involve things like reading poetry or stories to each other.
You could also use voice calling apps like WhatsApp – whatever is more comfortable for the care user.
Video Calls e.g. Skype/FaceTime/Zoom/Kraydel
Whilst it might seem like a bit of a technical challenge at first, video calling is really easy to pick up. Regularly hearing someone’s voice as well as seeing their face can help people feel more connected and give them something to look forward to. With video calls, multiple people can be involved – so the whole family could even come together! We love the team over at Kraydel having tested out their system for ourselves earlier in the year we saw how well it can help connect people who are receiving care at home.
How to set up video calling
Video calling is really simple. For most people who have iPhones or iPads, they can FaceTime, and on android devices, you could use WhatsApp or even Facebook messenger. Alternatively, Skype or Zoom can be used on any device, you just need to set up an account and check your device has a microphone and camera. It’s important to use whatever device people are comfortable with – it might even be helpful to do some quick “how-to lessons” with people to help them feel more at ease. Remember to think about lighting – video cameras tend to focus on where the light hits on the screen, so make sure your face is in the light!
How to keep devices clean
Just like washing your hands, keeping your devices clean is really important to reduce the risk of viruses and bacteria spreading. It’s important to clean personal devices at least twice a day, and every time they exchange hands. Harsh chemicals can damage touch screens, so instead you can use a damp tissue with some soap and water to clean all sides of the device (be careful of any open ports). Just make sure you wipe it dry afterwards and dispose of any tissues carefully in a bin.
Using devices for COVID-19 Monitoring
We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to adapt our care home software to best help carers during the coronavirus pandemic. That means that you can use the free Log my Care app to help monitor symptoms and keep track of COVID in your care community. You can find out more about the software and how it can help you here, and we’ve also created some free infographics that you can download to help.