Henriksson: Seniors need safe social contacts

– We need to find solutions that make it possible for seniors to have safe social contacts also during the Corona-crisis. Now assisted living facilities are totally closed for outsiders. It pains me every time I think about seniors who aren’t able to receive visits from their children and grandchildren. We have to be creative… Read more »

– We need to find solutions that make it possible for seniors to have safe social contacts also during the Corona-crisis. Now assisted living facilities are totally closed for outsiders. It pains me every time I think about seniors who aren’t able to receive visits from their children and grandchildren. We have to be creative and find safe solutions that make social contacts possible, the chair of SFP, Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson says.

A true ray of sunshine was the assisted living facility that this week started to use a mobile temporary space to make contacts possible. This space has separate entries, glass between the sections and enhanced cleaning – this made it possible for seniors to meet their relatives. Other facilities have introduced meetings through open doors or windows.

– More assisted living facilities should find these kinds of solutions – preferably mobile spaces. Then one can at least see each other and talk, even if the hugs have to be postponed until later, Henriksson says.

– We have heard stories of seniors in palliative care that have been denied the opportunity to meet their long-time spouses during the short time they have left. Even though the situation is difficult everyone should be granted a dignified end, surrounded by loved ones.

Henriksson says that especially in the area of palliative care there has to be ways to find solutions that make it possible for loved ones to meet the patient. She mentions secured sections for palliative care facilities as examples of ways to make this work.

– Also those above 70 years of age, that have been encouraged to self-quarantine, over time do need some form of social contacts. Maybe a visit outside or a walk where we make sure to keep the distance can work. It is important to diminish the risk of infection, and protect our seniors, but we also have to consider the mental well-being and the importance of meeting loved ones, Henriksson says.

– The government has encouraged people over 70 to avoid close contacts and avoid going outside the home. Relatives have been encouraged to avoid unnecessary visits to stop the virus from spreading. The government will continue the discussion on how our society step-by-step, in a controlled way can move away from the current restrictions.