A care home group is creating an app linking users with residents after the success of its “adopt a grandparent” video chat scheme.
CHD Living, which has 16 care facilities in Surrey and south London, saw 72,000 people within three weeks signing up around the world after it began a scheme holding video calls with its residents during the coronavirus lockdown.
After the online initiative’s success, the care group decided to begin fundraising to create an “adopt a grandparent” app, which it hopes will launch in June.
The app, which is in its final planning stages, will open the scheme up to other care home providers, with 25 already expressing their interest in being involved.
“We have just over 800 care recipients, so you can appreciate 72,000 is more than enough to keep them company,” said Shaleeza Hasham, head of hospitality, communications and commissioning at CHD Living.
“Now we’d like to take the next step and embrace a larger community.”
The video chat scheme sees people matched with residents based on a short questionnaire about their likes and dislikes, with an introductory session to ensure that the matches get on well.
Ms Hasham said: “We’ve been absolutely astounded by the sensational response to our campaign.
“It’s been a complete whirlwind the past few weeks, but one that’s brought in much-needed positivity at an incredibly testing time for the care industry.
“Some of the messages we’ve been receiving have been so lovely and we’ve been pairing up people, facilitating video calls and encouraging communication; the start of which has been extremely heart-warming.”
CHD Living said it has plans to establish “adopt a grandparent” as an independent, not-for-profit organisation and that the app will help to streamline the process of matching people with residents.
Ms Hasham said: “By raising the funds to develop the app, we can get people involved far more quickly, helping to ensure all of the necessary admin and safeguarding procedures are undertaken swiftly, and speeding up the process of connecting those in need.”
Staff hope that once the pandemic has passed and it is safe to do so, as many of the volunteers as possible will visit their adopted grandparent in person.
“To know there are so many people out there wanting to offer companionship to our service users is so moving … we have seen it make such a difference to the wellbeing of our residents,” Ms Hasham said.
Donations to the Adopt a Grandparent app fundraiser can be made at www.gofundme.com/f/adopt-a-grandparent-app