Southern Cross Care was delighted to support the development of a guide to help aged care organisations support residents to use technology and social media to stay connected with their loved ones. The guide - Tech Connect: Staying Meaningfully Connected in Aged Care was launched in Canberra today.
Tech Connect: is a resource for spiritual carers and others working in residential care to help plan, implement and evaluate a program to support residents, including those with dementia, to maintain relationships and virtually attend family occassions, such as weddings.
Launched by Meaningful Ageing Australia, Tech Connect aims to support residents’ spiritual wellbeing by helping them maintain important connections with the people and occasions important to them and through conversations in the lead up to and following a call or event.
The guide, written by Southern Cross Care spiritual wellbeing coordinator Beate Steller utilises technology at SCC’s Nagle Residential Aged Care in Sutherland as a way to bring memories and current experience into a resident’s life. “It is about keeping connections going. It is not just the technology but the way you facilitate it and make the connections before, during and after an event.”
The program assists relationships with simple skyping or messaging between a resident and family in Australia or overseas to planning big events that involve the residential community.
“It all serves a spiritual purpose of enabling the resident to feel connected, involved, valued and wanted in their family life despite being physically separated,” Ms Steller said.
Virtually attending family occasions as in the case of a virtual wedding staged at the Nagle home that allowed one resident to partciipate in her Grandsons Melbourne wedding.
The wedding was shown on a large screen and residents celebrated with a high tea put on by the facility’s chef.
Other residents also got to join in and be part of the skype wedding.
“Ms Steller, who was motivated to write the guide as part of the Master of Ageing and Pastoral Studies program she is undertaking at Charles Sturt University, said she was not an avid tech-user, but has found it easy to learn what is needed to implement a successful program.
Meaningful Ageing Australia CEO Ilsa Hampton said while many people were committed to spiritual care, some were not comfortable with technology.
“This unique guide makes it possible for increasing numbers of older people to experience more meaningful connections by offering a practical and sensitive approach to the use of technology as a bridge-builder,” Ms Hampton said.
To be implemented, Tech Connect needs a decent internet connection, the support of leadership and the whole team, and staff with the appropriate spiritual care skills, she said.
Pastoral and Spiritual Care are important components of a persons overall well-being at Southern Cross Care.