21Oct, 2020

Unique Visitor Pod unveiled

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | October 21st, 2020

Today we unveiled a unique visitor pod that allows families to reunite with their older relatives in a new, safe space.

The visitation pod, which was designed and co-sponsored by Ayoba Board and Accessories to our specifications, is perfect for two family members at a time to visit with elders in a separate space from the retirement home. According to Ayoba CEO, Shaun Mohanlall, the design went through various tests to ensure the space allowed for proper ventilation: “When Tafta contacted us, we were very much up for the challenge. The team looked at meeting the objectives of a safe and sanitary visit, with the additional consideration to providing an intimate space for family reunions,” she explained.

We had started brainstorming ways in which it could reunite elders with family from whom they were isolated, during the country’s heaviest Lockdown Level 5, which prohibited visits to old aged homes. To isolate older people from the rest of the world during the pandemic was the most difficult trial we had to face as an organisation that bases its model of care on challenging helplessness, loneliness and boredom in the older population. It is also not a sustainable or healthy lifestyle and we needed to find a solution to meet the needs of elders and their families, in the face of Lockdown regulations that still encourage minimal visitation to old aged homes. We had heard about visitation pods being introduced in the UK, but the funding for this innovation was difficult given today’s financial climate.

But help was at hand when Tafta Council member and Old Mutual Marketing Executive Charmain Shandu got involved. “We decided to invest R10 000 in this project as it resonated strongly with Old Mutual’s community values and our admiration for innovative solutions to end the isolation these elders have been feeling,” she said.

Mr Bishop, a John Dunn resident, said he was thrilled to be able to see his family soon within a safe space. Prior to lockdown, his close-knit family used to visit two to three times weekly. “I am happy to have the protection that the visitor pod provides,” says Mr Bishop.  “I think my fellow residents should also be pleased that Tafta took the initiative to protect our health, while allowing us to spend time with our families.”

Attending the launch were Alison Vezasie (56) and her sister Terry Gabin (64), who has been a John Dunn resident for the past 4 years. Vezasie said although seeing her elder sister from a distance over the fence while she drove by was comforting during the months of Lockdown, being able to visit again and be in closer contact was a huge relief. “We saw each other weekly prior to Lockdown and I could drop in whenever I wanted to. To have a means to reconnect physically again is wonderful.” Terry was equally excited: “I’ve missed them all so much and it’s such a joy to visit again.”

Depending on the success of the pod, we will seek further funding for similar pods in our other frail care centres to allow our most vulnerable elders to safely visit with families without fear of infection keeping them apart.

For any queries related to this matter, please contact Prevashni Naidu on 031 332 3721/ 083 781 2006 or email: prevashni@tafta.org.za