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    Nursing homes given tablets to ease loneliness

    Residents of Flemish nursing homes will be provided with tablets to stay in touch with loved ones. Credit: Pixabay

    Residents of Flanders’ nursing homes will be able to get in touch with their loved ones thanks to tablets provided by the Flemish government.

    The Flemish government is investing €375,000 to distribute tablets to ease the loneliness for the elderly as they remain confined throughout the lockdown, Health Minister Wouter Beke and Home Affairs Minister Bart Somers announced on Friday.

    “The tablets are provided with simple manuals, telephone help and a digital mailbox” so the nursing home residents will be able to contact their loved ones as easily as possible, said Beke and Somers.

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    “It is not the same as a real visit, but in this way, we’re trying to reduce the residents’ loneliness as much as possible without putting the health of staff and residents in danger,” they said.

    The news comes after the Flemish government refused to change the lockdown guidelines for nursing home residents despite Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès’ announcement on Wednesday that limited visitation would now be allowed. 

    Belgium’s lockdown was extended on Wednesday and is set to last at least until 3 May.

    The initiative is the result of a collaboration between Deloitte, the social enterprise Close The Gap, and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Citizens can donate tablets here.

    Jason Spinks
    The Brussels Times