If there’s a silver lining to lockdown, it’s this: finally, people are starting to take the effects of senior loneliness seriously.
A lot of focus is being given – and rightly so – to protecting the elderly from COVID-19. But with isolation comes the risk of loneliness. The good news is that people all around the world are getting creative in how they combat senior isolation…
Introducing “Rent a Grandparent”
Home care agency, CareChamp, is a big advocate for the importance of socialising for seniors. With the call for social distancing, they decided to start a movement: “Rent a Grandparent” is an initiative to foster friendships across generations and help the elderly feel a little less lonely.
Who can be a part of it?
Everyone – in one way or another – is feeling the absence of loved ones right now. Which is why CareChamp’s initiative goes both ways and is open to grandparents and friends of all ages.
Anyone with access to a phone or computer, (and, ideally, an internet connection) can sign up to be a friend or grandparent. All they need to do is answer a few questions and CareChamp will be in touch once they’ve made a match (and completed all the necessary safety checks). Participants under the age of 18 will need a parent’s/guardian’s permission. Since the initiative is digital, it’s open to participants from anywhere in the world!
How does it work?
CareChamp will make matches based on shared interests. That way, grandparents and their new friends will have lots to talk about. CareChamp will set up an initial video call for the pairing to meet. If they hit it off, then it’s up to the two of them to grow the friendship.
There’s something so special about seeing a friendly face. Which is why CareChamp suggests a video call. That said, there are other ways to strike up a friendship, such as a phone call or writing via email (like a pen pal).
CareChamp’s advice for participants for meaningful interactions:
Be present with your new friend – it’s called quality time for a reason!
As a way to improve social connections, try to find ways to help them feel like they’re valued.
Remember, it’s such a privilege to learn from another generation.
See it as an opportunity to share stories.
The more meaningful the interaction, the more positive and beneficial the health effects.
CareChamp provides a platform for connecting vulnerable persons with trusted, reliable home caregivers (aka Champs). The coronavirus epidemic is shining a light on loneliness among the elderly population. Now more than ever, we are seeing how social isolation is a public-health concern. That said, it is certainly not a new thing. That is why CareChamp hopes to continue their ”Rent a Grandparent” initiative long after things return to normal.