Care home residents are being treated to Tai Chi, bingo and darts competitions over the internet after a worker set up a virtual entertainment system in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Adam Purnell, care lead at Kepplegate Residential Home in Preesall, Lancashire, set up a Facebook group so care homes can share activities such as sing-a-longs, exercise classes, book readings, film screenings and quizzes during the Covid-19 isolation.
Residents at the 16-bed residential home were treated to a virtual tour of Chester Zoo at the weekend, and have also taken part in breathing exercises and meditation.
The care home has also created a virtual visiting lounge where residents can connect their devices to a large TV screen and chat with their loved ones who are unable to visit.
Mr Purnell, 30, said: “I’m a firm believer that activities and entertainment are essential to people’s wellbeing, especially as we now have reduced visiting in the majority of care homes.
“There are about 120 members in the group so far and we are using it to link up with each other whilst also sharing other forms of virtual entertainment that will benefit those we support.
“It’s all really simple but a lot of providers are lacking in confidence or feel activities only need to be done when we have the workforce to do them.
“I believe it can’t be sacrificed.”
Recently, residents linked up over Skype with a care home in Devon for Tai Chi and a darts competition.
This week Mr Purnell hopes to start using Facebook Live so care homes can broadcast their activities to multiple residences at once.
He said of the residents: “They all genuinely love it. The technology always impresses them
“Most were amazed they were looking into a home in Devon and couldn’t believe it.
“Morale has been low with having reduced visiting entertainment so they all love being able to connect with others from elsewhere.”
A staff member at West Heanton care home in Devon said: “Through Skype our link was easy and our residents and day centre clients really enjoyed seeing another residential home and waving to, watching and joining in with the Kepplegate family as we completed our fitness session for the day.
“West Heanton looks forward to linking up with others across the country in the coming months to provide entertainment, companionship, essential links to family and the outside world and to bring love and laughter into the home.”