By Lions Home For The Elders
COVID-19 has upended the world we know. Residents' daily lives are affected by the stringent measures implemented to ensure their safety. This included the suspension of regular on-site visitations by group volunteers, or what residents call a "party", where volunteers play games, perform and even cater snacks for them. This change in particular has caused much distress and loneliness among residents.
To allay residents' anxiety, Lions Home decided to modify and redesign its volunteer programmes by leveraging technology. This started out as video screenings for the residents; pre-recorded by volunteers, these included performances, tutorials and encouraging messages that entertain and cheer the residents. The team then explored conducting real-time volunteering sessions and individual befriending via weekly Zoom calls. This way, volunteers could also engage residents from the safety and convenience of their own homes.
For the e-volunteering sessions, volunteers play games, conduct tutorials such as craft and simple exercises or perform for a group of 7 to 10 residents. Some sessions take the form of Zoom parties where volunteers hold live performances for a larger group of residents. It is heartwarming and priceless to witness residents smiling again. Even through a screen, the individual befriending programme reaches out to residents at risk of isolation. The weekly chat with volunteers provides the psycho-emotional and social support this group of residents needs. Their regular engagement has forged friendships and served as a platform for residents to voice their thoughts and feelings.
We are glad that volunteers are able to bring joy and comfort to the residents once more. The adoption of virtual platforms is indeed the new normal way of volunteering. This alternate form of communication and interaction will definitely be one way to continue volunteer programmes after the pandemic. With care and forethought, Lions Home hopes to resume onsite volunteering soon.
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Issue 5: October 2020