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    Innovative Ways to Help Your Residents Stay Connected During COVID-19

    August 24, 2020

    As the Coronavirus has ravaged our nation's nursing homes, it's also exacerbated a problem many residents already faced: isolation. As a previous nursing home social worker, I've seen the positive impact of visitors, whether they were families, friends, or entertainers. Visitors brought smiles to our residents' faces, and the good feelings remained long after visitors left. 

    However, as COVID-19 continues to prevent in-person visits, many nursing homes are looking for new ways to keep their residents connected with their families. I've found a few creative ideas that nursing homes can keep these connections strong: 

      • This Brazilian nursing home has created a "hug tunnel" to allow families to hug their loved ones through a sanitized plastic barrier safely. The photos of this are amazing, and the tunnel can be easily replicated and adapted to a variety of environments. 

    Brazilian care home creates 'hug tunnel' so loved ones can embrace elderly relativesedition.cnn.com

      • Another company that I'm excited to learn about is called "Famileo." Family members can download the app and update it with photos and messages for their grandparents—and then every couple of weeks, the company prints it into a newspaper format and mails it to their grandparents! Famileo also has an option for senior living facilities to sign residents up for a group rate.
      • SoundMind is another company that works to keep older adults and their families connected. They send pre-configured video-calling devices to older adults, personalized for their needs. The older adults can easily place video calls to their family members with a simple voice command. SoundMind also partners with facilities.
      • FamliNet helps older adults message their families and friends using a simple, user-friendly app that adapts to individual needs like hearing and vision loss. It helps older adults easily send video messages, audio messages, and text messages, and provides text-to-speech or speech-to-text translations. 

    I hope these resources can help your residents stay connected with their families and friends during this tricky time.

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