Jewish Care has created an online resource to provide fun and engaging virtual activities for older people at home whilst on lockdown. Since suspending activity at its community centres at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisation has responded quickly, rolling out remote services and maintaining the deep levels of care and support it provides for older people in the community.
The virtual activities focus on different ways for people to keep their minds and bodies active at home and brings together resources from other organisations to provide stimulating activities, entertainment and information. It includes physical activities for staying fit, meditations and reflections to maintain emotional balance and resilience, theatre, music, TV and radio to keep people entertained, and classes for learning new skills, quizzes, games as well as access to eBooks and audiobooks for mental stimulation.
The main things that people enjoy when coming to Jewish Care’s community centres are socialising, eating tasty and nutritious kosher meals and engaging in a diverse programme of activities. Jewish Care quickly re-designed the community offer, so that people could get similar benefits remotely.
Sandi Wassmer, Jewish Care‘s Head of Transformation and Service Design, says, “We are now delivering kosher Meals on Wheels across London, are providing social connection and friendship through our new online and telephone befriending service and have pulled together a wide and varied range of activities for people to choose from on the Jewish Care website.”
Some of the activities can be accessed online by those with the digital skills and there is also a lot of content to print off and send to a loved one who isn’t online, or to use as an activity to do during a phone, Skype, Zoom or FaceTime conversation. The organisation is also integrating suitable activities into telephone befriending conversations.
Sandi continues, “Regardless of ability, everyone can participate. Exercises range from simple chair exercises, to gentle stretching, and more energetic yoga. There are quizzes, puzzles and games and opportunities to learn and explore from live theatre and learning to crochet to virtual art gallery tours and taking up photography.
“We are really looking forward to growing these resources in the weeks and months to come, and for older people in the community, along with their friends, family members and carers to make use of these resources and keep their minds and bodies active, stimulated and well.”
One new user of Keeping Active is Carol, 69 and from Stanmore, says, “I’m so pleased I found so many great ideas on the Jewish Care website to keep me busy during lockdown. It prompted me to do a Hebrew language course with Duolingo, something that was easy to find on the website. I’m already making great progress. Thanks Jewish Care.”