A Surrey care home group, CHD Living, is calling for more care homes to get involved in a campaign which invites people to digitally ‘adopt a grandparent’, having been overwhelmed by an incredible response from all around the world.
Aimed at combating loneliness and encouraging companionship, the initiative is centred on connecting the public with care home residents, helping them to form meaningful, intergenerational friendships.
The campaign, established by CHD Living, a Surrey and South London based care home group consisting of 13 residences, two specialist rehabilitation centres and a domiciliary care business, was initially launched last autumn and looked for local volunteers to physically visit the home to meet and bond with residents.
However, given the ongoing crisis and the current restrictions on movement, the group decided to take the campaign digital – aiming to harness video technology to spread the message further and encourage connections from anywhere in the world.
The call for volunteers was met with an astonishing response, with 60,000 people signing up within 3 weeks from all over the world including from the US, Canada, Dubai, New Zealand and more – far more than the care home group could possibly look to pair up.
Shaleeza Hasham, Head of Hospitality, Communications & Commissioning at CHD Living, said: “We’ve been absolutely astounded by the sensational response to our campaign! It’s been a complete whirlwind the past two weeks, but one that’s brought in much needed positivity at an incredibly testing time for the care industry. Some of the messages we’ve been receiving have been so lovely, and we’ve been pairing up people, facilitating video calls and encouraging communication; the start of which has been extremely heart-warming.”
Shaleeza continued: “However, we didn’t want to restrict this initiative to just our homes. We have just over 800 care recipients, so you can appreciate 60,000 is more than enough to keep them company! Now we’d like to take the next step and embrace a larger community, helping these wonderful volunteers to connect with other care homes, and vastly increasing the pool of potential ‘grandparents’.”
As ‘virtual volunteers’, participants in the scheme will be encouraged to use technology to provide mental stimulation and remote companionship to those in care via regular video calls. Drawings, letters and poetry from the public are also being welcomed as part of the initiative to brighten residents’ days.
Care homes interested in joining the scheme should register their interest by visiting https://chdliving.co.uk/careproviders-aag-form and filling in the form. From here, representatives from CHD Living will be in touch to discuss the next steps.
Members of the public who are interested in enrolling in the scheme can still register interest via https://chdliving.co.uk/adopt-grandparent.
Shaleeza Hasham commented: “Despite the huge interest, we’re still accepting registrations as we’re hoping this will become a global movement to help encourage intergenerational companionship. We’d just like to ask for patience as we work our way through the requests. In the UK at the moment, we’re set to encounter the peak of the pandemic. Our priority is to provide the best possible care for our residents, so we ask for understanding around any delay in the pairing process. However, rest assured, your participation is very much appreciated, with our residents and staff taking tremendous heart from it.”
She concluded: “We hope that care homes across the world will be in touch to join the campaign. It’s a fantastic opportunity to spread a positive message at a very difficult time and we’re hoping people will continue to embrace the spirit of companionship and friendship that we’re looking to project.”
Established in 1984 by founders Liakat and Nazira Hasham, CHD Living is an award-winning, family-owned group, comprising 13 residences throughout Surrey, as well as two specialist rehabilitation centres and a domiciliary care business, Longdene Homecare, providing care for over 800 people across Surrey and South London.
For more information on CHD Living, please visit https://chdliving.co.uk/volunteering