Villa Carramar resident keeping in touch with family thanks to new iPads.
Villa Carramar resident keeping in touch with family thanks to new iPads.

Aged care residents make most of isolation from families

AT A time when physical distancing is the new norm, Villa Carramar’s aged care services are finding creative alternatives to engage residents and keep them active.

Operators, Churches of Christ in Queensland, say they’re helping residents adapt to new technology that allows them to stay in touch with relatives.

Earlier in the week the company announced they’d had to cease visitation for residents.

“This decision was made following widespread requests and feedback from our residents, resident families, resident GPs and staff,” company CEO Gary Edwards said.

The company’s general manager of residential aged care, Anne McGill said Villa Carramar residents were taking the changes in their stride.

“A crisis like this affects everyone, and an emotional response to its impact is normal. In aged care, self-isolation can be quite daunting, and people can experience feelings of anxiety, boredom and frustration,” Ms McGill said.

“Residents have been incredibly positive and a wonderful encouragement to our staff. They have so much lived experience and use this to maintain their resilience,” she said.

Digital devices, such as iPads, have been provided to Villa Carramar residents this week.

“It’s not the same as actually being able to visit, but is a good temporary substitute until things return to normal.

Carramar residents are enjoying more outside activities.
Carramar residents are enjoying more outside activities.

“We don’t know how long these restrictions will be in place, but our biggest responsibility remains the health and safety of our residents, their families, and our staff,” Ms McGill said.

It seems residents, like 89 year old Margaret Garcia, are embracing the changes.

“Staff are doing a wonderful job with the restrictions in place,” Ms Garcia said.

“I also love the bingo in the wings and in smaller groups, the trivia now available in the dining room to keep the mind going and occupied.”

Villa Carramar staff have placed an emphasis on outdoor activities.

“I am happy to be able to go outside and exercise by walking freely in the inner courtyard without a lot of people around,” 85 year old resident Jocelyn O’Reilly said.

“I enjoy the games that are offered on small game stations and the support of staff to stay active with lawn bowls, ten pin bowling and other activities,” she said.

Families continue to send letters, care packages and videos to their loved ones in the aged care service, with one resident receiving a USB with a video message from their grandchildren.

The cessation of visitation will remain in place until at least April 30. when it will be reviewed.