Coronavirus: Hitchin care home keeping residents connected with video calling and new technology

PUBLISHED: 09:58 07 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:58 07 April 2020

Foxholes care home residents have been using Alexa and Facebook to keep in touch with relatives. Picture: Supplied

Foxholes care home residents have been using Alexa and Facebook to keep in touch with relatives. Picture: Supplied

Archant

A Hitchin care home has been making the most of modern technology to keep their residents connected to family and friends during the coronavirus pandemic.

Foxholes Care Home in Hitchin has been working hard to keep residents connected during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: ArchantFoxholes Care Home in Hitchin has been working hard to keep residents connected during the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Archant

Loneliness is something that can affect the elderly at the best of times, but perhaps none more so than during this lockdown – where seeing those you care about the most face to face is not an option.

But the team at Foxholes Care Home have been doing all that they can to allow residents to keep in touch with loved ones and even experience new things using the wonders of technology.

The tech-savvy residents are now able to stay personally connected with friends and family during the coronavirus outbreak having got to grips with the latest video calling technology, Facebook Portal.

By using Facebook Portal, a smart system that provides video chat via Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, and augmented by a camera that can automatically zoom and track people’s movements, the home’s residents have been able to see, hear and respond to their friends and family in real-time, on a regular basis.

Alfred Lewis poses with his bookie card as the virtual Grand National sets off. Picture: SuppliedAlfred Lewis poses with his bookie card as the virtual Grand National sets off. Picture: Supplied

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Minnie Copping, an 84-year-old resident at the home, has been using the Facebook Portal to keep in touch with her daughter Sandra. She said: “I think the technology is marvellous. It’s so reassuring to know that I can see and speak to my family whenever I want to.”

Staff at Foxholes have been training and aiding residents, who range in age from 50 to over 100, to use the innovative technology, which also has Amazon Alexa built-in, at a time where normal day-to-day contact is prohibited.

Neil Gandecha, estate manager at Foxholes, said: “While a phone call to a resident from a family member is lovely, those who receive regular visitors have lost that personal, emotional contact with the outside world.

“Facebook Portal has provided the answer and has been a revelation in these difficult times.”

Another resident, 83–year-old Alfred Lewis, was set to attend his first–ever Grand National last month, but had the historic race brought to the comfort of his care home.

Foxholes staff recreated the thrills and spills for horse racing fanatic Alfred, by airing a virtual race in the home and creating mock bookies tickets for the former British Army chief.


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