Digital helpers as heroes in the fight against social isolation.
Exactly one year ago today, the coronavirus forced Austria into a nationwide lockdown for the first time. On 16 March 2020, all businesses, shops, educational institutions and care homes were temporarily closed overnight, massively restricting our social life. The protection of the population, especially older generations, was given top priority from then on. Accordingly, we were warned against socialising with older family members and friends. This particularly affected our loved ones in retirement homes and care facilities, who were not allowed to receive visits for months and had to cope with their daily lives in social isolation from then on. In addition to self-sacrificing doctors, carers etc. on the front line, digital helpers proved to be heroes in the fight against coronavirus.
Digitalisation as an opportunity
The digital age began long before the first wave of coronavirus, but experienced a superlative boom in 2020. Separated families were reunited with the help of video telephony. Thanks to our innovative JAMES software even digitally shy senior citizens were able to see the voices and faces of their loved ones again. On behalf of the state of Carinthia, we equipped the majority of our care homes with the JAMES Tabletthe senior-friendly video telephony tablet. But also our JAMES emergency watches protected elderly people in isolation with the help of a mobile home emergency call system. Relatives who were unable to look after their relatives in person due to coronavirus were reassured by the smartwatch's alarm function.
A year later, after a long wait, we are finally enjoying the easing of restrictions and are allowed to see elderly family members again, subject to various safety precautions such as vaccinations, COVID tests and protective masks. Care homes are also gradually opening their doors and now allow face-to-face visits instead of digital ones. However, the added value of digitalisation - not only in the private sector, but also in the care and healthcare sector - will increasingly come to light in the coming years. Our aim is to realise this added value with the help of the age-friendly software from JAMES to communicate with older generations as well as to take away the shyness and scepticism in dealing with digital devices.