With in-person visitation still under tight restrictions due to the pandemic, skilled nursing facilities across the nation have gotten creative — often with the use of technology — to help residents combat social isolation and loneliness.
Many have embraced alternative means of communication such as FaceTime, Skype and other video and audio conferencing systems to allow residents to maintain contact with family and friends until safe visits resume. Brookdale Senior Living, which has more than 700 facilities located throughout the country, provides computers, cell phones and tablets to residents to allow them to contact their loved ones. In order to maintain wellness, the devices are then sanitized after each use, said Brookdale President and CEO Cindy Baier.
Other facilities, often with help from their state’s aging services association, have partnered with technology companies to help supply devices to their skilled nursing residents. For example, the Massachusetts Senior Care Association and Livindi, which offers a video technology solution, partnered together to provide 475 tablets with video communication software to nursing home residents across the state to facilitate virtual face-to-face communication with their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tablets were secured through an initiative of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office and were donated by Amazon.
“The well-being and safety of our residents is a top priority and we are grateful to work with Livindi and the volunteer network Neighbors4Seniors to help residents stay in touch with family and friends,” said Tara Gregorio, president of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association.