High-risk residents are scared. Graeme Foster explains how Alpha Living is going to be looking out for the well-being of older and vulnerable residents of its over-55s housing
The worldwide coronavirus outbreak is a challenge on a scale never seen before. We must pull together to tackle it – and each landlord will have a different role to play.
Alpha Living provides housing for over-55s, meaning the majority of our residents fall into the category of those most at risk. While the government’s guidance constantly changes, our values of kindness, honesty and agility don’t. Those in high-risk groups are scared. It is our duty to do all we can to support those who use our services. More importantly, we’re listening and adjusting our approach on a daily basis.
Each of our developments has a dedicated manager, on site five days a week to support residents. This is a post that many have scrapped, but it is one we were keen to continue. It is now a position that could prove a lifeline to many of our vulnerable tenants as this situation evolves.
Our watchword for the coming months will be “well-being”.
“One in 10 of our residents do not have regular contact with a family member. They are worried about loneliness, not having a trusted confidante and practical things like having somebody to do their shopping”
The crisis will redefine our role in the lives of our residents.
We must keep people safe and follow guidelines, but we also must consider the wider impact of this national emergency on their well-being.
Loneliness and isolation have a devastating impact on people’s physical and mental health.
We know that more than one in 10 of our residents do not have regular contact with a family member. They are worried about loneliness, not having a trusted confidante and practical things like having somebody to do their shopping.
In normal times, the services we provide in our communal areas, such as our lunch clubs, are vital to them.
Under current guidance they will need to stop. For many people in our homes, 12 weeks of isolation will be heartbreakingly tough.
As we take decisions on how to re-deploy colleagues and which services to maintain, our ability to listen and react to residents will be a priority.
“For those who are self-isolating we will find time each day to talk on the phone with them, do their shopping or run important errands”
The situation and advice is changing daily. Residents want clarity and to understand how decisions in Downing Street impact on them.
For those who are self-isolating we will find time each day to talk on the phone with them, do their shopping or run important errands. We’re realistic, too, in explaining how our resources might become stretched, so we’re talking to younger residents in our developments to see what help and companionship they can give.
Social media will become a necessary link for some, so we are ensuring everyone knows how to use these channels to contact loved ones.
We’re facing a challenging time but we believe we are doing everything we can to ensure the best for those we work with. For independent living providers, this will be a time to redefine their roles and recognise the vital part we play in keeping people safe.
Graeme Foster, chief executive, Alpha Living
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