The C2R Program
Residents in senior living communities sometimes feel lonely and isolated. The COVID-19 lockdowns have intensified these feelings in senior citizen residents. This is further amplified for individuals suffering from cognitive decline, who may be confused by changes that they don’t understand. To combat this, Conversations to Remember arranges for students in high school and college to have virtual visits with residents in senior living communities. This includes residents in assisted living residences, nursing homes, long-term care communities, skilled nursing facilities, memory care units, and continuing care communities. We identify and train the teens and young adult volunteers, and coordinate all of the virtual visits.
Our visits are centered around the resident. They are scheduled to occur each week, based on the resident’s schedule. At the arranged time, two to three students will join the resident on a video call to speak with them. The same students will interact with the resident each week, building intergenerational relationships. While our students are on the call for the resident, we recognize that each resident has different needs. Some just want new people to speak with, others may be happy to be part of this small community, but don’t want to share as much. Our students are trained to recognize this, and will respond accordingly.
Isolation and loneliness can cause both mental and physical decline. Additionally, studies have shown that individuals with cognitive challenges benefit from increased interactions that stimulate their brains. Our volunteers provide this stimulation, whether they’re reading to the residents, discussing current events, or just chatting about their lives.