Coronavirus: Care home residents boosted by virtual visitors

Stan, Vinnie and OliverImage source, Friend in Deed
Image caption,
Video calling has kept care home resident Stan connected with Vinnie and Oliver

Carers say video calling is keeping a special "bond" alive between residents and children who cannot visit each other because of the coronavirus lockdown.

They are part of a scheme organised by the charity Friend in Deed to bring people together to reduce loneliness.

Founder Kelly Lindsay said the technology was keeping people "connected in testing times".

Pam, 92, said they "missed them a lot" but looked forward to the calls.

"They are very nice people. We look forward to smiling and joking with them," she said.

Pam is a resident at Chiswick House, in Norwich, where fellow resident Stan has also been video calling with his regular "little visitors", three-year-old Vinnie and 18-month-old Oliver.

Sharon Filby, head of activities, said the scheme had made Stan a "very happy man".

"Using Facetime keeps the relationship and the bond alive," she said.

"They obviously can't communicate as well... but they [the boys] still look at him with doting eyes."

Friend in Deed works with more than 30 care centres across Norfolk, Suffolk Essex and Cambridgeshire, with the help of 500 volunteers.

The children normally go into homes, talk with residents and play games with them.

But recently they have been planting seeds at home and sharing photos online of their progress, as well as making video calls.

Image source, Friend in Deed
Image caption,
The charity is also asking younger volunteers to plant seeds and share photos online

Miss Lindsay said the virtual connection was "wonderful" and showed the "strength" of her charity's work.

"I hope one of the good things to come from this will be that care homes get even better at using technology," she said.

Image source, Friend in Deed
Image caption,
Terry has taken part in the charity's planting scheme to keep connected with volunteers

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