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Ashburton nurse Linda George keeps in touch with her elderly parents via Skype.

Ashburton nurse Linda George is using Skype to keep in touch with her 84-year-old dad.

Linda helped him set up the audiovisual communication last week when she decided to stop visiting in person, to eliminate the chance of passing on Covid-19 to him or her mother, who has memory problems.

Her parents live in Dunedin, but even if they lived around the corner in Ashburton, she would have done the same.

“Because I am a frontline health worker, I decided not to visit them.”

The elderly are most at risk of serious complications if they contract the virus and Linda says families need to find safe ways of staying in touch.

She and her dad tested the Skype arrangement last week and have been using it ever since.

“They worry about what is coming. They are very aware and have their own way of dealing with the effect of the protocols to stay inside.”

Linda said it was difficult sometimes for her dad, who needed to repeat messages about handwashing because of her mother’s memory problems.

But Skype has allowed them to all see each other’s faces and chat. “Seeing a face really adds to the conversation.”

Linda’s nursing takes her into the Ashburton community where she works with older people.

Some said they missed not seeing their families.

Some families were using their creativity to stay together, but with a safe physical distance.

“One family bought tea up and they ate it on the balcony, while the parents sat inside behind glass and ate.”

Linda said it was important to look out for older people and to see if they needed help.