When COVID-19 put a stop to Bray Park High School students visiting the residents at Wesley Mission Queensland’s aged care community Anam Cara, the students and residents quickly came up with a solution. Journey reports.
The students this week started weekly Zoom calls with the residents, to help combat loneliness and isolation at a time when the residents are unable to have visitors.
“We’ve been running the intergenerational program with Anam Cara for four years and our students have built really strong connections with the residents,” said Peter Turner, Principal of Bray Park High School.
“It was the students themselves that recognised that it was no longer safe for them to visit the residents, but they wanted to do something to stay in touch, which is where the idea for Zoom calls came from.
“We made our first video calls on Wednesday [25 March] and it was a resounding success; the students were quite emotional, and you could see how much it meant to the residents.”
Sixteen-year-old Bianca Bill said that she and her classmates were looking forward to the weekly calls with the residents.
“We all love the weekly visits to Anam Cara. We would spend time with the residents, cooking, playing games, walking the companion dogs and they’ve become our friends and we miss them,” Ms Bill said.
“Some of us will do the video call from the art room so we can show them our art projects, others will call from the music room, so they can play some music for the residents. We hope that it will help them feel happy during the difficult time. And even if schools close, we’ll continue to chat together and stay connected.”
Silvia Holl—Residential Aged Care Manager at Anam Cara—thanked the students from Bray Park High School for their care and compassion for the residents.
“The visits from the students are a highlight of the week for our residents, so they were very sad when they learnt it had to be suspended. When we told them that they could stay in touch with the students via video, they were delighted,” Ms Holl said.
“The weekly calls will mean so much to the residents and help to keep their spirits up, and feel connected to the community, until it is safe to resume the visits.”
Wesley Mission Queensland embraces the internationally-recognised The Eden AlternativeTM philosophy of care in all its aged care communities, which focuses on connectedness, meaning and joy, which is so important during these challenging times.