A care home company in Surrey has seen thousands of people sign up to its ‘adopt a grandparent’ campaign, which will see members of the public hold video calls with its residents.
‘Adopt a grandparent’ was initially launched last year but recently went digital in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organisers say they have since seen 28,000 people from across the globe sign up – including Australia and Canada.
The campaign was devised by Creating Happiness Daily Living (CHD), which has 16 care homes in the Surrey area, and aims to combat loneliness amongst the elderly. The initiative went online after concerns for residents’ mental and physical health during an increased socially isolated period.
Isolation and loneliness among the elderly is already a concern for care homes and charities. Age UK estimates that around two million over-75s live along, with more than a million going more than going for a month without speaking to friends, family or neighbours. Most recently, the government has also advised over-75s to self-isolate for up to 12 weeks.
Shaleeza Hasham, head of hospitality, communications and commissioning for CHD Living, said:
The idea behind it was to promote inter-generational communication and the relationship between children and older people, which is very valuable.
By taking it digital, we felt it was so valuable to relieve potential feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Staff at the care homes hope that volunteers will visit their adopted grandparent in person once the pandemic has passed.
Anyone interested should go to the CHD Living website and apply, where they will be asked about their interests and why they would like to take part. Organisers will then use the information provided to find the best matches possible.
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