As Covid19 has started to spread at an alarming pace through Belgium, recent safety measures have put many older people in social isolation. Both at home and in residential care settings, these people find themselves cut off from family, friends and loved ones. Uncertain for how long this threat will persist.
These last few days, the Flemish Older Persons Council (Vlaams Ouderenraad) and its members have been highly active in raising awareness, highlighting inspirational practices and tips in order to make older people feel connected, included and provided for. Older people’s organisations in Flanders are actively trying to reinvent their role, searching for new ways to play a meaningful role in the lives of older people and those around them, despite these unprecedented and highly challenging circumstances.
On their website, they list simple yet effective actions put in place by various grassroot actors to send letters to older persons in their communities, organise virtual meetings for older persons to connect with their relatives or friends, organise telephone calls by volunteers to have a daily chat with an older person. Some nursing homes organize communication between residents and their relatives through social media or video door phones to foster contacts and reassure everyone. Social restaurants and daycare centres which used to serve meals are now organising home delivery of cooked meals to their older customers.