Bringing connection to vulnerable seniors
What does Covid-19 look like for our seniors?
It has been over 2 months since non-essential senior activities took a nationwide pause. With their day-to-day activities affected by the Circuit Breaker, our seniors yearn for a purpose and social connection. But given that many of our seniors are not technologically-savvy, how do we go about bringing connection to our vulnerable seniors?
Bringing Connection to vulnerable seniors
Therefore at C3, our volunteers check in on our senior clients via phone calls once or twice a week. Many of our Caring Callers are actually senior clients who started volunteering because they find it enjoyable, meaningful, and want to give back to the community.
“It’s been fulfilling to spend some time to chat and get to know some seniors and it warms my heart to make them feel less alone during this difficult time.”
– Ivan Ong
Most of our seniors in the Befriending programme live alone, making these phone calls all the more important to keep them engaged and connected. For socially-isolated seniors whom we assess to be high-risk or frail, our senior volunteers even call them twice a day.
Hearing a familiar voice
During these phone calls, volunteers become a familiar voice providing much needed social interaction for our stay-alone seniors. Some of them were so excited to try out Whatsapp video calls for the first time!
They help to update and educate our seniors about various government measures. Additionally, these calls allow for us to check if they have needs that we can help with.
Through the phone calls, we realized some seniors faced difficulties getting groceries and other daily necessities. Hence, we linked them up with the Potong Pasir Community Club to provide them with food rations. We have also been actively looking for masks to give to our seniors.
Coronavirus Crisis calls for a time of experimentation!
But other than phone calls, how else can we deepen our engagement with our seniors? Will Facebook work? We thought… why not!
Last week, we created a Facebook Group* for our seniors to stay connected in an online community. Our volunteers from Leo Club (NP) and SMU have planned and created a series of online activities such as games, craft, cooking, exercises! We even have volunteers from CJC to translate these activities into Chinese so language isn’t a barrier for our seniors!
Paired with our phone calls, our Facebook Group gives us more touch points with our seniors. Our volunteers will also be identifying seniors who are technologically-savvy to get them to join our Facebook Group!
*The Facebook Group is only open to our senior members and volunteers managing the platform
Apart yet in this together
Moving forward, we wish to start a buddy system for all our seniors to check in with each other daily. This is a way of connecting our vulnerable seniors.
As our clients and senior volunteers live in the Potong Pasir constituency, we hope this will foster a gotong royong spirit right here. May this be something positive that lasts beyond COVID-19, becoming an essential part of their daily lives!