It can be tough moving to a retirement home. There are new surroundings to learn, routines to create, roommates to meet, and adjusting to living apart from family. It is a new reality that can make residents feel lonely as they adjust. It can be even more difficult when illness requires isolation from visitors.
Our residents thank you for this beautiful gesture.
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many retirement homes have ended visiting hours for family and friends, and in some cases, with an indefinite timeline. The new safety procedures are designed to protect the most vulnerable from COVID-19, but can come with a mental toll on residents who have been separated from their families for months. Understanding the stress and heartbreak this is causing their communities, Lions of France acted quickly; they acquired grant funding from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and went to work.
Using a US$5,000 District and Club Community Impact grant (DCG), Lions purchased 273 tablets and delivered them to 106 retirement homes for residents to borrow. More than 8,000 residents were overjoyed when they found out they would be able to talk to, and virtually see, their children, grandchildren, and friends again.
As video calling becomes more and more popular across the world, people can still feel connected, even though they are not seeing their family and friends in person.
Staying connected to loved ones during a time of isolation can be vital for health. Feelings of loneliness can affect one’s mental health, which can have a direct impact on physical health. Social disconnection is a major stressor for the body, said to be equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes each day1. However, with today’s technology, social distancing does not have to mean social isolation.
When retirement home residents know they will be able to see their grandchild’s new art project, hear their laughter, or know they will simply be in the presence of their family, their spirits are lifted. The staff witnessed how important this was to their residents, and were moved to tears seeing how happy it made them. “Our residents thank you for this beautiful gesture,” says a staff member at one of the retirement homes.
“Tears of joy showed us that this gift was needed,” says Lion Christian Baril, District Governor of District 103 Centre-Ouest, France. “Thank you, LCIF!”
Lions around the world have taken action to support and protect their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. In every constitutional area, Lions are coming up with creative ways to help, just like the Lions in France. With support from LCIF, they are able to make a large impact in their communities.
Campaign 100 is empowering Lions to increase service impact in vision, youth, disaster relief, and humanitarian efforts; fight the global epidemic of diabetes; and make important progress in the expanded cause areas of childhood cancer, hunger, and the environment. To support Lions as they serve their communities, visit lionsclubs.org/donate.
Jamie Weber is the marketing content specialist at Lions Clubs International Foundation.