How is Cáritas Coimbra fighting isolation in this pandemic stage?

In March, with the declaration of the state of emergency, Cáritas Coimbra had to close Day Care Centres, which meant that more than 200 senior citizens were left without the possibility of using this service, that they attended on a daily basis.

From this group, 140 older adults lack a close support from their family, so Cáritas offered them an alternative service for basic support (food and personal hygiene) also ensuring regular visits. The social carers also remain in touch with regular contacts to understand if they are well and with the maximum possible comfort.

Residential units however continued to operate, although with extra care. Since age is one of the main risk factors and social distance is essential, the users of these services have been without visits for more than a month. To bridge this distance, Cáritas Coimbra relocated digital equipment to carry out “Virtual Visits” and maintain communication between users and their families.

In Buarcos, Quiaios, Góis, Pombeiro da Beira and Coimbra these virtual visits via tablets or smartphones are made very regularly and, according to the formal caregivers it is being very successful. Family members were informed about this new way of visiting their relatives, as well as phone numbers or emails available to make the calls. This is a way to reassure users and families, also ensuring that users receive affection from their loved ones, even if not in person and without physical contact.

On the other hand, Cáritas Coimbra continued to pay attention to families that are in a situation of economic and social vulnerability, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, through its Community and Social Development Centre, Cáritas kicked-off two campaigns that will support 20 families already flagged by technicians, in a total of 51 people including children.

Through Máscara Solidária (Solidary Mask) campaign, which consists of making and selling non-surgical social masks, it will be possible to buy fresh products such as yogurt, meat, fish, vegetables and fruits for the selected families. At the same time, Somos Família (We Are Family) project aims to attract families from civil society that can “adopt” families that are going through difficult times and to which they should deliver monthly a basket filled with essential products.

With these initiatives, Cáritas Coimbra also intends to ensure that these families feel accompanied and that they overcome the pandemic phase in a more comfortable way. With the involvement of the whole community, suppliers and companies, it will also be possible to increase the number of families supported.


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