Two male clowns from RED NOSES Palestine smile during an online clowning visit to an elderly man whose face is bright and joyful.

Keeping the needs of the aged a priority in times of crisis

04.August 2020

Keeping the needs of the aged a priority in times of crisis

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” (George Bernard Shaw)

When, for the first time, a successful product is created, it is the beginning of a story, a feeling and a special attitude. When, for the first time, a lonely person in an elderly home living under strict restrictions due to COVID-19, experiences playfulness and joy through online clowning, something unique happens. We, professional healthcare clowns seek to use the innovative techniques available to best complete our work which, year after year, simply is the expression of our passion.

Bringing laughter to people in need of joy has always been our heritage, but now, more than ever, it makes all the difference in the world for those affected the most by this crisis.

Senior citizens are tremendously vulnerable to severe illness in times of the Coronavirus pandemic. In order to protect them, there had to be total cancellation of all their regular social activities in elderly homes. Not being able to receive visits from their family members made older patients in Palestine feel even more secluded on a social and personal level.

Although we could not be there in person, we knew we had to do something about this sudden increase in loneliness and hopelessness. Thanks to the possibilities offered by the digital world, in cooperation with the medical staff in the Dar Al-Mahabah Wa Al-Wi’am Elderly House in Nablus, we started weekly video calls to ensure the continuity of the psychosocial support and encouragement for our dear ones there. All in all, we visit online six geriatric institutions in Palestine on a regular basis.

An older man in an elderly home in Palestine is encountered joyfully by a male clown and smiles.

We cannot properly put into words what the first online interventions meant for our older beneficiaries. One of them said: "This is the first time to hear from anyone from the outside since the pandemic started."

Another inhabitant of the elderly home in Palestine asked: "Is this phone call for me? Especially for me? Really?" and then tears of joy became visible in his eyes. He felt valued, remembered and important for someone who wanted to talk solely with him.

We realised that senior citizens love the fact that there is someone out there to check on them, to call them and to simply share their daily life with. Some elderly laughed just by seeing themselves on the screen, wondering how it works as if looking into a mirror. 

The medical staff is very thankful for our priceless contribution towards providing psychosocial support as it is needed more than ever before.

An older woman in Palestine watches two clowns on the screen of a mobile phone and smiles.

*Story from: www.rednoses.ps