Jul 20, 2021

VICTOR EXERCISES HIS MEMORY AND HIS BODY WITH THE HELP OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

There are many older people who, due to the prolonged quarantines due to the pandemic and the prohibition of going outside, have seen their motor and cognitive skills affected. An agreement between the Hogar de Cristo and the Autonomous University of Chile has allowed us to serve hundreds of users of the In-Home Care Program. 

“These classes have helped me a lot because my body and memory have been bad since my stroke,” says Víctor (76), one of the beneficiaries of the agreement between Hogar de Cristo in the Maule region and the Autonomous University of Chile, which has allowed him to receive free sessions from professionals in the Occupational Therapy career.

During each session, Víctor is assisted through a video call by an intern and a career guide teacher, who help him to reinforce the tasks that, due to the stroke suffered a few years ago, are more difficult for him to perform. “They ask me who my sister's husband is, there I answer that he is my brother-in-law. I think these questions are to know how my memory is. They also ask me to see and tell them the time. In today's class we were making a planter with a plastic bottle ”, says Victor from the Maule region, where he divides his days between classes and his love for the land. "I also take advantage of clearing my mind with my garden where I have tomatoes, paprika and green beans for the casserole," he adds. 

All sessions are carried out through cell phone video calls, which has meant a challenge for those older adults who do not have the necessary technology to carry them out. "In the case of Víctor, who does not have a smartphone, our social technician must go to his home on Tuesdays and Thursdays and establish the connection with the students in practice through his telephone," says Rodrigo Lazo, head of the program Home Care (PADAM) of Curepto, and of which Víctor is a user.

Despite this, for Rodrigo this agreement has been tremendously beneficial for those older adults who, due to the pandemic, have suspended their outings and have seen their cognitive and motor skills affected. "We are extremely happy with this initiative and this work in conjunction with the Autonomous University of Chile that has allowed us to generate activities so that the elderly can function without problems in their daily environment."

Jul 19, 2021

HAPP: THE SUCCESSFUL APP SPREADS

Two months after the implementation of Happ in the La Asunción de Hogar de Cristo residence for the elderly, in Villa Alemana, the mobile application to prevent COVID-19 infections has been a success and its creators and workers are very happy serving the high-risk population. 

Exactly in August 2020, the pilot of a mobile application designed by Chileans to carry out traceability via Bluetooth and preventive testing for workers began to be implemented in the La Asunción residence for the elderly, in order to detect any type of COVID-19 contagion in time. 

This is Happ –for its acronym in English, Health Application Protocol,–, an undertaking created by Jorge Welch and Kristopher Brigham, in the midst of the pandemic to develop a solution that will help detect possible possible contagions within a company.

“We have been here for two months and we are super happy, because we have managed to provide protection to a home for the elderly that needed it a lot because of the high-risk population it serves. We are happy because in these two months we have managed to give that protection. To date, we have processed more than 700 exams in this period and fortunately we have not had any cases, except one that was rechecked and that it was finally the flu. We were able to do the monitoring on time and not have any contagion episodes. The La Asunción residence can be calm, ”says Jorge Welch, co-founder of Happ.

After having trained the 45 internal workers and 10 external workers of the residence in the use of the application, which will allow to register and know the narrow cases, in the same place the sample is taken through saliva thanks to a quick kit and within two hours the test result is obtained. All in the same long-stay facility that houses 56 seniors.

For the social worker Consuelo González, who has been working in this facility since 2016, the arrival of Happ “has been an incredible opportunity because the benefits are extensive, it first gives us the security of serving users without infecting them, because they test us in in the morning and at two hours we already have the results ”, she explains. 

She adds that since then they have been working with peace of mind and without the additional burden of risk, although they keep all the security safeguards and sanitary protocols to the extreme. “I don't know if there are many companies that have this testing system for their workers, which also allows us to return home confident that we are not a vector of contagion for our families either. Our transfers are also safe, because we have a minivan as the exclusive means of transportation. Thank God we have not had any contagion during the pandemic, but I believe that this test gives us peace of mind and makes our work easier, ”says Consuelo.

Apr 1, 2021

Report March 2021

We hope this message finds you well and that you are handling these uncertain times as  good as possible.

From Hogar de Cristo we wanted to let you know our current situation of our organization in Chile and how we have been carrying out our project focused on Elderly and COVID-19.  

During all these months of anguish, older adults are on the list of those who have had the worst time. Those who should be at the center, protected by a society that values them rather than being isolated, mired in hopelessness and depression.

Although in Chile mortality among the elderly has not reached the levels of other countries, almost 85% of those killed by COVID-19 are over 60 years old. Vulnerability in older people is not only a direct result of age, but it is explained by the accumulation of biological, social and economic factors during their lives. The deterioration in functioning and capacities is not always the same, but without a doubt the conditions of deterioration are accentuated in those most vulnerable.

Long quarantines have wreaked havoc on this population. Not only in patients with Alzheimer's type dementias, who have worsened between 20 to 30% psychiatric symptoms associated with this ailment, such as apathy, depression and anxiety, but in all those who have some cognitive impairment. Furthermore, 25% of older adults in Chile have some symptoms of depression, which is not diagnosed in more than half of the cases and, therefore, is not treated. Imagining what happens to them when they are locked up, alone, with calls that do not even come close to hugs, is tremendous. Physically, being reduced inside a house impacts on the loss of muscle mass, favoring falls and the consequent fractures.

In the face of this worrying picture, Hogar de Cristo has acted, keeping most of its centers open and adapting its activity to this new reality. As of March 2020, all Hogar de Cristo hostels went into quarantine and operated 24 × 7 for those who agreed to stay in them. This measure lasted until September, a month in which, according to the measures of the government's Step by Step Plan, it became more flexible in the different regions.

Moreover, we have started an agreement with the Autonomous University of Chile that has allowed us to serve dozens of users of the In-Home Care Program, receiving free sessions from professionals from the Occupational Therapy career. During each session, older adults are assisted through a video call by an intern and a career guide teacher, who help them to reinforce the tasks that are most difficult for them to perform. The sessions are carried out through cell phone video calls, which has meant a challenge for those older adults who do not have the necessary technology to carry them out. Given this, our social technicians must go to their homes and establish the connection with the students in practice through their phones.

In addition, thanks to new agreements, we have been able to provide wheelchairs, walking sticks  and other technical aids to solve their physical disability problems, improving the quality of life of older adults considerably.

Finally, this year began with great hope thanks to the start of the vaccination against COVID-19 in our centers. to this date, the great majority of Elderly and our staff have been vaccinated. 

We have been able to achieve this transformation because of your support. We believe that older people are subjects of rights, not of charity, protection or paternalistic or falsely tender treatment, which is nothing other than ageism: that is, contempt for the elderly. Your contribution has meant being able to continue providing support to hundreds of older people throughout the country. We really thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your help that is giving hope and quality of life to many elderlies.

 

 
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