- Title: Locked-down French care home combats loneliness with Skype chats
- Date: 10th April 2020
- Summary: BISCHWILLER, FRANCE (APRIL 9, 2020) (REUTERS) DANIELLE MARTIN, RESIDENT OF RETIREMENT HOME, IN ROOM WITH SOCIAL WORKER EMILIE NEUMANN NEUMANN SETTING UP SKYPE CALL ON TABLET BETWEEN MARTIN AND HER NIECE NATHALIE/ SKYPE RING HEARD FROM TABLET/ NEUMANN SAYING (French): "Nathalie, we still don't see you, I don't know why." MARTIN HOLDING TABLET SCREEN, WHICH SHOWS VIDEO OF HER NIECE NATHALIE NEUMANN CLICKING ON SCREEN AND SAYING (French): "There you go, it's good Nathalie."/ MARTIN SAYING "Now I see her."/ NEUMANN ASKING "How are you?"/ MARTIN SAYING "Look straight at your screen, that way you see me." MARTIN TALKING, AS NEUMANN HOLDS TABLET NEUMANN SHOWING MARTIN'S ART WORK/ NATHALIE SAYING (French): "It's pretty."/ NEUMANN SAYING "Yes, it's really so beautiful."/ NATHALIE SAYING: "You've mixed the colours well."/ MARTIN SAYING: "Yes, the colours are good. That's what the drawing is for - to mix the colours." (SOUNDBITE) (French) DANIELLE MARTIN, 71-YEAR-OLD RESIDENT OF A CARE HOME, SAYING: "When you have all day, and you can't leave the room, it's already difficult. Because I usually play scrabble or gin rummy with my friend across (my room). But now we're not allowed to see each other. And I miss it, somehow. We've been having whole afternoons to ourselves. And then they would put me to bed, I can have a siesta and watch TV. That's all I can do. There's nothing else to do." (SOUNDBITE) (French) NIECE OF DANIELLE MARTIN, NATHALIE, SAYING (VIA SKYPE): "I see her face, if she's pale. I know my aunt. When I look in her eyes, I can see if she's well, if she's ill. That's what's important. I would visit her two or three times a week, and that's what I miss now."/ MARTIN SAYING "And we would eat together."/ NATHALIE SAYING: "Yes. When I see her smile, I'm happy." NEUMANN ENTERING ROOM MARTIN HOLDING TABLET, TELLING NATHALIE (French): "Today I had pasta, but as I don't eat pasta, I asked if there was mashed potatoes, and she said yes. Voila." NEUMANN AND MARTIN TELLING NATHALIE (French): "We're going to eat chocolates together."/ MARTIN SAYING "And then the diabetes will soar."/ NATHALIE'S AUDIO SAYING "Diabetes is not good." NEUMANN ADJUSTING TABLET SO VIDEO SIGNAL IMPROVES (SOUNDBITE) (French) DANIELLE MARTIN, 71-YEAR-OLD RESIDENT OF A CARE HOME, SAYING: "We can maintain contact with people. Now, at least once a week I see my niece. Before, she would come every two days to dine with me in the canteen, because she works not far from here. That was important, somehow." MARTIN IN ROOM WITH NEUMANN/ NATHALIE SAYING (AUDIO ONLY): "The weather is nice."/ MARTIN SAYING "Well, yes, we want to go out and have a walk." (SOUNDBITE) (French) SOCIAL WORKER IN "JARDINS D'EMERAUDE" RETIREMENT HOME, EMILIE NEUMANN, SAYING: "We can sense a bit of worry from the part of the families. And I think it's important to reassure them, to show them that their loved ones are okay, and that they're well taken care of." MARTIN HOLDING TABLET, SAYING (French): "It's clearer? No? Well, I don't know what else I can do."/ NATHALIE SAYING "I see myself clearly." MARTIN HOLDING TABLET, SAYING (French): "My modern technique!"/ NATHALIE SAYING "Yes. At least, we see each other. It's great with modern technology. And as I can't come see you, we can see each other this way." (SOUNDBITE) (French) DIRECTOR OF "JARDINS D'EMERAUDE" RETIREMENT HOME, MAGALY HAEFFELE, SAYING: "It's important to maintain social ties, because it allows us to keep up the morale for our residents and for our staff, who can sometimes see the distress of a resident who is unable to be in touch with those people close to them." VARIOUS OF HEALTH WORKERS TALKING (SOUNDBITE) (French) HEALTH WORKER "JARDINS D'EMERAUDE" RETIREMENT HOME, JOELLE SCHMITT, SAYING: "It's true that this situation is very heavy, very difficult to manage. And they (care residents) need us, they need us more these days because in reality, this confinement keeps them in their rooms, waiting for us to come." NEUMANN WALKING ON CORRIDOR TOWARDS MARTIN'S ROOM MARTIN LISTENING TO NATHALIE SAYING (AUDIO ONLY): "There's Easter Monday, I have to do the groceries."/ MARTIN SAYING "And maybe I'll receive a little Easter bunny treat to eat." AND LAUGHS/ NEUMANN SAYING "We'll have a little surprise on Sunday." MARTIN TALKING NEUMANN WITH HER ARMS AROUND MARTIN, SAYING (French): "I'm happy to be able to do this."/ MARTIN SAYING "I hope we'd be able to play the lottery again. I miss it."/ MARTIN WIPING TEARS FROM HER EYES/ NEUMANN SAYING "We'll do it." MARTIN SAYING GOODBYE TO NATHALIE "Bye, kisses"/ NEUMANN SAYING "Well wishes!"/ NATHALIE SAYING GOODBYE VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF "JARDINS D'EMERAUDE" RETIREMENT HOME
- Keywords: COVID-19 France coronavirus deaths ederly ehpad epidemia health pensioners sick video calls
- Reuters ID: LVA001C8WS5S7
- Location: BISCHWILLER, FRANCE
- City: BISCHWILLER, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Duration: 00:06:01
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: The Skype call had to be rebooted, but after several attempts Danielle Martin, a 71-year-old locked down inside a French retirement home, could finally see her niece Nathalie via the tablet propped up in front of her wheelchair.
"There you go, now I can see her," the pensioner said to Emilie Neumann, an employee at the home whose job since the coronavirus outbreak involves setting up video calls between residents and their families.
Old people are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus - in France to date there have been 4,166 deaths related to the disease in retirement homes - and so the homes have been banning visitors and confining residents to their rooms.
That has left elderly people cut off from the social and family ties that they depend on for psychological well-being, medical professionals say.
Before the outbreak, Danielle Martin's niece would visit her twice a week at the "Jardins D'Emeraude" retirement home, a unit of the Bischwiller Hospital, in eastern France.
Once visits and socializing were banned, the pensioner's days felt emptier.
"I usually play scrabble or gin rummy with my friend across (my room). But now we're not allowed to see each other. And I miss it... I can have a siesta and watch TV. There's nothing else to do," Martin said.
In the meantime, worried relatives were bombarding the home with phone calls seeking updates on their relatives, according to Magaly Haeffele, the director of the facility.
The home needed a better solution. After putting out a request, they received tablets and smartphones from local charities and donors, and installed Skype and WhatsApp applications so they could be used for video calls.
To help residents and their relatives with unfamiliar technology, staff members were re-assigned from their regular roles, and volunteers were drafted in to help too.
"It allows us to keep up the morale for our residents and for our staff, who can sometimes see the distress of a resident who is unable to be in touch with those people close to them," said Haeffele.
To celebrate the Easter holidays, the staff of Jardins d'Emeraude will be distributing chocolate bunnies and special meals to the residents, to create a bit of a festive atmosphere despite the confinement.
(Production: Christian Hartmann, Michaela Cabrera)
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