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IFA Virtual Town Hall Chat Summary 3 July 2020

The following chat summary is from the IFA Virtual Town Hall on 3 July 2020 with Ms. Irina Lipski, sharing on transitioning from crisis to routine.


Key Resources


Upcoming Events



Digital Skills Training

  • Is there interest among older people to learn digital skills? How is the digital divide for older people being overcome?
  • A participant is preparing to celebrate her 95-year-old mother’s birthday via Zoom conferencing software.
  • Blayney Blades Women’s Group tried to provide online courses however in some rural areas there was little or no access to the internet.
  • A long-term care residence in the US arranged pen pals for older people under lock down. They used Facebook to make initial contact, and afterwards communication continued by mail.


Non-digital Outreach

  • Are there non-digital opportunities to engage isolated older people? Some older people have no interest in connecting digitally, or may not have the ability, such as those with dementia.
  • In the absence of digital knowledge, to what extent could the telephone be used to help in self management of chronic illnesses among older people?
  • A booklet providing ideas for activities would be very valuable to isolated individuals, along with activity bags, gifts, simple stretches and exercises with a short personalized note to each recipient.
  • Mosaic Home Care is starting pole walking groups in July as an opportunity for people to connect safely outdoors for conversation and exercise.


Future Direction

  • The objective of improving digital skills can be reoriented to increasing ability of older people to self care and manage chronic illness.
  • In the absence of a road map for reopening society for older people staying home can continue to offer protection from the virus.
  • There is value in following the Fundamental Assumptions for Future Planning to create a template for transitioning out of COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Many older people have adjusted to changes in routine during COVID-19; will some changes be permanent?
  • Advanced pandemic protocols, wearing personal protective equipment properly and physical distancing are essential to keeping a safe home and / or nursing home.
  • The demography of older people is just as diverse as other populations, and those outside of the ageing sector must be reminded the stereotype of frailty and vulnerability in older age is not a defining characteristic.


Pandemic Language

  • “Cocooning” is a term used to describe the isolation of older people in their homes during COVID-19 lockdown. It is largely used in ignorance of the negative and offensive connotations it incites in older people.
  • “Healthy distancing” could replace the terms “social distancing” or “lockdown” which have negative connotations.
  • It is important to remember long-term care homes are first and foremost residences, not just medical environments.


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