Tamar Krebs Aged Care COVID-19 Interview

Tamar Krebs Aged Care COVID-19 Interview

Interview with Tamar Krebs, Founder of Group Homes Australia

Tamar has worked in the Aged Care industry for the past 18 years both internationally and here in Australia. She has held senior management and leadership roles operating Retirement Villages, Hostels, Nursing Homes and Dementia Units. She holds many relevant and necessary qualifications such as a Masters of Health Service Management, a Bachelor of Science and various certificates and diplomas which provide her with a solid skill and knowledge base in Gerontology. She is recognised as a Specialist in both Behaviour Management and Aged Care and offers consultancies to various aged care providers. Tamar is also a RN.

Question: With the new COVID-19 restrictions, how can Australians support the elderly in their life, from a distance?

Tamar Krebs: The government is encouraging social distancing, not social isolation. Being able to maintain a connection through different avenues is extremely important during this time. We can use technology to send videos and Facetime, write cards and letters, to share with our loved ones, what's going on in our day to day lives.

Question: What are the main risks of isolation in the elderly?

Tamar Krebs: There are many risks associated with self-isolation. It will affect mood, orientation and can have significant impact on a routine. Not having a routine, structure or social connection can then affect appetite and put them at a higher risk of depression.

Question: How can younger, less at risk, Australians manage these risks?

Tamar Krebs: Although we need to remember to distance ourselves, this does not mean we need to isolate. Connecting through technology and being able to see your loved ones face, whether this is through Facetime for a pre-recorded video, can help lessen the chance of these risks

Question: How are residents and their families coping with the new measures in aged care facilities, including no visitors?

Tamar Krebs: The families are heart sore. It's tough not being able to see your loved ones, especially during this time. However, we are ensuring that our residents are keeping busy with meaningful and purposeful activities and games, within the homes, while practicing social distancing. We are also maintaining the connection to families through Facetime, Zoom, pre-recorded videos and family photo albums.

Question: What are you doing to combat the social isolation of your residents?

Tamar Krebs: Keeping our residents busy during this time, so that they don't feel the social isolation is critical. This places a bigger responsibility on the care staff, to stimulate them, and keep them active in activities that the residents find purposeful and meaningful, while practicing social distancing. They can interact one on one, with their household (six to ten residents), and do things together like, gardening, watching a movie, cooking or baking, going through old family photo albums and Facetiming their families.

Question: What creative ideas have you got for keeping in touch during self-isolation?

Tamar Krebs: We made sure to prepare over the past few weeks. They have done this by asking families to bring in old photo albums, using technology to stay in touch through face time and zoom. We have also asked families to share videos, so residents can watch multiple times. We send the families photos every day, to show them how the residents are keeping busy. Some residents are even writing cards to their family.

Interview by Brooke Hunter
Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash