The staff at Christadelphian Homes have gone above and beyond over the past year to provide emotional support and practical activities as lockdowns and outbreaks due to the COVID-19 pandemic barred visitors and volunteers, and meant some residents were unable to leave their room for weeks.

Individualised activities and exercises were developed for residents to suit their preferences and needs, and technology was utilised so family members could connect with their loved ones as much as possible.

Nurses and the Leisure and Lifestyle team ensured every resident was visited numerous times every day, and they enjoyed one-on-one conversations and activities such as ball darts, seated exercises, arts and crafts, dominoes, word searches and crosswords to keep them entertained and active.

Sensory stimulation activities such as hand massages and aromatherapy were also organised.

There were scheduled video calls and phone calls with loved ones, and courtesy calls to families to reassure them of their loved one’s emotional well-being, how they were participating in different activities and updates about the COVID-19 situation.

Some residents made greeting cards or wrote letters to their loved ones to keep them in their thoughts during the lockdowns and outbreak period.

Special days such as Father’s Day were still celebrated, and residents at Northcourt in North Parramatta even received a combined gift of hairdressing tools and a haircut by a nurse, as hairdressers had not been permitted to visit for some time.

Northcourt also received support from organisations such as Dementia Support Australia, which supplied robot pets, puzzles, aquapaints and a smart tablet. Channel 7 also dropped off an array of plants and seedlings for the garden.

Armchair Travel took on even more significance as residents were virtually transported to countries around the world from the comfort of their chairs.

On Grandparents Day children from the local preschool who usually regularly visited Casa Mia in Padstow instead crafted cards and wrapped chocolates that were distributed to residents.

Volunteers Sam and Julie Dando usually lead a church service at Southhaven once a month, and thanks to video calls residents at both Southhaven and Casa Mia were still able to participate.

After months of lockdown, family visits were resumed in mid-October and staff were able to witness many emotional moments as residents were reunited with their loved ones.

The new year brought another COVID-19 wave, and along with it more lockdowns of Homes as cases across the country increased. Our staff continue to do their utmost to ensure the health and well-being of all residents at this difficult time.