Coronavirus: Care home is calling for virtual volunteers to ‘adopt a grandparent’ and tackle loneliness

Matt Mathers
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A care home group has launched an “Adopt a Grandparent” campaign in a bid to help battle loneliness among the elderly as fewer people visit during the coronavirus pandemic.

CHD Living in Surrey announced the plan last year but has now digitised the campaign amid the Covid-19 outbreak and is calling for “virtual volunteers” to help battle isolation.

The care home initially paired elderly residents from across their 13 Surrey and South London-based sites with local children and adults who don’t have or see grandparents of their own.

The virtual volunteers are being urged to use technology to provide mental stimulation and remote companionship to those in their care via regular video calls with the residents.

Drawings, letters and poetry from the public are also being welcomed as part of the initiative to brighten residents’ days, with the group looking to get as many children involved as possible during current school closures.

Shaleeza Hasham, head of communications & commissioning at CHD Living, said: “The nature of care means that we’re looking after some of the most vulnerable members of society at the moment. It’s a worrying time and we’re taking the threat of coronavirus incredibly seriously, putting stringent processes and protocols in place to protect our residents as much as possible.

She added: “We are however keen to keep spirits in the homes high and so have been thinking of ways that we can continue to enrich the lives of our residents whilst providing them with stimulation and companionship.

“It made sense at this time to digitise the Adopt a Grandparent campaign and to recruit further volunteers who might like to help keep our residents company over the coming weeks. It will be a wonderful distraction for everyone involved."

CHD said the scheme had already seen an influx of registrations in recent weeks with 36 new sign-ups in March alone.

“The recent increase in registrations is really great to see. It’s clear that the public are looking for rewarding ways in which to fill their time and we know our residents will be delighted to start building these relationships,” Ms Hasham explained.

If you, or someone you know is interested in enrolling in the scheme, you can do so by clicking the following link: www.chdliving.co.uk/adopt-grandparent

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