Elderly in UK care home embrace technology to beat coronavirus lockdown

Elderly in UK care home embrace technology to beat coronavirus lockdown

Resident Tolson chats via Facebook Portal to her family
Resident Pat Tolson chats via Facebook Portal to her family, helped by estate manager Neil Gandecha at the Foxholes Care Home. REUTERS/John Sibley

HITCHIN, England: Residents in a British care home are embracing technology to stay in touch with friends and family as the country faces the possibility of weeks of lockdown amid the coronavirus epidemic.

One newcomer to video-calling is 84-year-old Minnie Copping, a resident at Foxholes Care Home in Hertfordshire, north of London.

Resident Minnie Copping chats via Facebook Portal to her daughter
Resident Minnie Copping chats via Facebook Portal to her daughter Sandra at the Foxholes Care Home. REUTERS/John Sibley

"It's absolutely marvellous because she's my best daughter. I've only got one, mind you, but she's the best daughter I've ever had," Copping said after a 10-minute, laughter-filled chat with her daughter Sandra.

"Oh it's so, so reassuring for all of us, all the family. Just to be able to see her and know that she's happy. It just makes our lives so much easier because if you haven't got the contact, the normal contact, you feel lost," Sandra Copping told Reuters via video call.

READ: UK starts coronavirus information service on WhatsApp

Foxholes said they bought the Facebook Portal system to make video calling easier for their residents, who range in age from under 50 to over 100.

Resident Roche takes a walk in the grounds of Foxholes Care Home
Resident Enid Roche takes a walk in the grounds of Foxholes Care Home, assisted by activities director Susan Davies. REUTERS/John Sibley

"Some people will get a phone call but they can't hear their family member at the end of that line so for them to be actually able to see that face and see their lips moving is really, really important," Suzie Strange, Deputy Manager at Foxholes Care Home said.

READ: London hospitals facing 'tsunami' of COVID-19 patients, says health official

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday ordered people to stay at home, shops to close and an end to all social gatherings to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

READ: UK government orders three-week lockdown to tackle COVID-19

The restrictions, which will last for at least three weeks, were brought in to prevent the state-run National Health Service (NHS) from being overwhelmed.

Under the curbs on movement, people should leave their homes only for limited reasons such as going to supermarkets for vital supplies or for exercise once a day.

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Source: Reuters/de

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