Sharing Warmth with the Elderly during COVID
With many community facilities locked down during the pandemic, elderly folks are finding fewer opportunities to socialise. That is why Swire Trust's TrustTomorrow initiative teamed up with HandsOn Hong Kong and the Methodist Centre to launch a phone support initiative under the Integrated Discharge Support Programme for Elderly Patients. Under this programme, volunteers chat with elderly folks on the phone, proving that a simple gesture of care and comfort can go a long way.
Swire employee Ceci is one of the volunteers. “The granny I’m talking to lives alone. She’s been stuck at home for a long time because of the pandemic, so she’s very lonely. Even though I only call once a week, she’s still excited to hear from me and grateful for our half-hour conversation.” During calls with the elderly, volunteers ask after their health and daily needs, reminding them to stay vigilant against COVID and to keep warm. “The pandemic messed up our rhythm and left us feeling helpless. This volunteering experience helped me realise that even small actions can make a difference for others.”
Since 19th December last year, programme volunteers have been giving weekly calls to elderly people who were discharged for a week to two months to heal at home. Volunteers call every weekend for four consecutive weeks, then relay important information to community centres, which will then follow up and provide any necessary assistance to the elderly. Before joining the programme, all volunteers are required to complete an online training course, which imparts skills for communicating with the elderly.