'Adopt a Grandparent'
Elderly home in the UK starts 'Adopt a Grandparent' initiative Image Credit: Twitter

An elderly care home in the UK has started an ‘Adopt a Grandparent’ initiative online after people stopped visiting amidst the coronavirus outbreak and thousands of people have signed up.

The campaign is a bid to help battle loneliness among the elderly during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a report by The Independent, the nursing home called CHD Living in Surrey announced the plan last year but has now digitised the campaign and asked for “virtual volunteers”.

Taking to Twitter, the facility, @CHDliving, posted a link to their website and wrote: “In an effort to fight the COVID-19 crisis, we've added a digital twist to our 'Adopt a Grandparent' campaign! We're looking for virtual volunteers to get on board and adopt one of our residents. Smiling face with smiling eyes. To find out more and get involved, please sign up here.”

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the care home paired elderly residents from across their 13 Surrey and South London-based sites with local volunteers.

Now, virtual volunteers are being urged to use technology to build a relationship with the elderly, according to The Independent. The sessions are conducted on video calls.

Drawings, letters and poetry from the public are also being welcomed as part of the initiative to brighten residents’ days, with the group looking to get as many children involved as possible during current school closures.

American actress Elizabeth Tulloch also became a part of the initiative. The nursing home, @CHDliving, tweeted: “Shelagh had an amazing first phone call with her adopted grandchild, do you recognise her?! Thank you so much for joining us in our combat to encourage companionship and tackle loneliness @BitsieTulloch, we can't wait to see watch your pairing develop.”

Shaleeza Hasham, head of communications and commissioning at CHD Living, was quoted as saying by The Independent: “The nature of care means that we’re looking after some of the most vulnerable members of society at the moment. It’s a worrying time and we’re taking the threat of coronavirus incredibly seriously, putting stringent processes and protocols in place to protect our residents as much as possible."

She added: “We are however keen to keep spirits in the homes high and so have been thinking of ways that we can continue to enrich the lives of our residents whilst providing them with stimulation and companionship."

According to a video report by Reuters, the campaign has seen a significant increase in registrations in recent weeks and thousands of people, from all age groups, have signed up.