Home Stories

Human connection in a time of spatial distancing

4th May 2020 | 3 mins

Val and Betty Opal Bairnsdale

Human connection is vital now as much as ever. Our person-centred care fundamentally means deeply knowing our residents and acknowledging each person as an individual whose background, culture, beliefs, family, work, and social life have shaped who they are and how they see the world. This is at the heart of our approach to care. It means supporting our residents to live a meaningful life every day in a personalised and considered way.

Understanding our residents’ likes and dislikes enables us to create opportunities for purposeful interactions and human connection in our care homes. Socialising together can play a significant role in boosting the overall wellbeing and quality of life of our residents. Now, with spatial distancing in place, it’s more important than ever that we continue to find ways to enable meaningful interaction, where new and old friendships can blossom.

Joan lives at Sale Gardens. In the lead up to her 83rd birthday, our team discovered that Joan had never had a birthday party, nor had she received a gift or even a card. When Joan made a wish in our Wishing Well to have a birthday party, it was a wonderful opportunity for our team to celebrate Joan in a way that was important to her.

Our team and residents threw her a birthday party complete with balloons, party hats, and gifts, and as the very special guest of honour, Joan wore a tiara and says she felt like a queen.  She was delighted to celebrate this milestone with her friends in our home and enjoyed making new connections with residents who joined in on the celebrations.

Joan Opal Sale

COVID-19 times have not deterred us from our purpose: to bring joy to those we care for. Our homes are the same as your home; our residents are comfortable, happy and they live a dignified life. Our residents are encouraged to remain independent and we support them in building authentic relationships and connections.

Val (pictured on the right, in the top photo with her friend Betty) lives at Bairnsdale Parklands. Recently Val chatted with team member Kylie, and shared, “For the very first time in my life I have a best friend, I can make my own decisions, I feel happy and supported when I need help”.

Val grew up in a family that moved around frequently and this made it challenging for her to maintain close friendships. When Val married and started a family of her own, her focus was on providing a home and raising her children, which did not leave her much opportunity to socialise. As her children grew up and moved away, Val found her world becoming smaller. Val’s husband had always made the decisions through their married life so, when he died and Val moved in with her daughter, it was only natural that her daughter took up that role.

Since moving into Bairnsdale Parklands, Val has found her independence for the very first time. At a time of life when people sometimes feel that their options are diminishing, Val is thriving. She has become a member of the Bairnsdale Parklands Residents Committee where she advocates for her fellow residents and welcomes new residents into the home. Even though spatial distancing means she needs to stay 1.5 meters apart from her new friends, Val has found a new lease on life!

Home stories from across Opal