As the pandemic continues, seniors remain at risk. While adhering to social distancing guidelines and visiting restrictions is important, it’s also critical to stay in touch in whatever ways are available. Keep your loved ones safe and supported with these tips.
Many elderly care facilities have limited visitors to keep the spread of the virus under control. If you’re not allowed to see your loved one in person, check to see if they offer window visits. Phone calls are great but seeing the faces of family and friends is important, especially for someone in isolation. If neither of these options are available, try connecting via FaceTime or Skype. Don’t assume older adults aren’t able to handle technology and be open and encouraging if they have questions. If they don’t already have a smartphone or tablet, research the best laptops for seniors.
Keep Up Traditions
It may take some creativity to safely recreate Sunday dinners or regular weekends with the grandkids, but finding a way to maintain the activities that brought joy in the past can be really lift someone’s spirits. Don’t be afraid to try new things to get the ball rolling. Setting up a tablet in the dining room to stream your dinner while they eat theirs can replicate previously shared mealtimes. Avid readers may enjoy a virtual book club. If you previously watched TV together try Netflix Party, a feature that synchronizes video and adds a chat option to viewing.
Handwritten cards are more meaningful than emails and can be displayed to brighten a room. You can also mail care packages filled with their favorite treats and activities like puzzles or board games. Have takeout from a restaurant they’re missing delivered or get them a subscription to a meal delivery service. If they like to cook, consider having groceries delivered. Some grocery stores offer their own delivery services, or you can try a service like Instacart.
Be Friendly With Staff
If your loved one is in an assisted living center or nursing home, the workers supporting them are also under a great deal of stress. Make sure they feel your support as well. Care package ideas include calming treats like herbal teas and bath bombs, or small luxuries like good chocolate and cheese. Gift cards are another option if you’re not sure what to get, just make sure you include a personalized note. Building relationships with support staff will also help you stay up to date on any changes at the facility.
As the pandemic drags on, it can be tempting to get lax about safety precautions. Continue to follow social distancing guidelines, wear a mask and avoid large gatherings. You can be spreading the virus without showing symptoms of your own, so a best practice especially with elderly or immuno compromised people is to take the same level of precautions you would as if you were sick. If you are sick, stay home.
Staying in touch with elderly relatives may be more challenging in the coronavirus era but it’s also more important than ever. A little extra effort goes a long way in maintaining positive social interactions for those you love.