Stay Connected with Loved Ones During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Staying connected to those we loved is an essential part of aging well. Numerous studies have shown that socialization helps ward off disease, improves our sense of well-being and even strengthens the brain. People who are more social get sick less and have healthier minds.
But during these times, when we’re told to practice social distancing, interacting with friends and family can be more of a challenge. Those of us who have parents living in a senior living community may have been told to stay away. If you have loved ones who live out of town, traveling has become more challenging, if it’s allowed at all. Even stopping by to check in on someone who lives next door may put everyone involved at risk. So how do you maintain an active social life when you’re “sheltering in place”? Here are some tips to help you get through the current crisis.
Pick up the phone
Phone conversations have become rarer and rarer in the age of texting and email. But the simple act of hearing a loved one’s voice can make social interaction much more personal. A “real” conversation may also allow the person you’re speaking with to be more open about how they’re feeling about the current challenges we’re all facing.
A video chat is the next best thing to being there in person! There are numerous video programs available, including Zoom Meeting, Skype and FaceTime. Senior living and skilled nursing communities are using tablets, computers, and cell phones to initiate or coordinate these conversations so you can see and talk to your elder loved one.
Send a handwritten note or letter
If phone calls are rare, a handwritten letter is nearly extinct. The unexpected surprise of getting a handwritten letter can really brighten an elder person’s day. Include photos, drawings or other notes from family, grandchildren, etc. so they have something tangible they can share with friends and have something to put on their refrigerators. This serves as a constant reminder that there is someone out there who loves them.
If your loved one isn’t able or chooses not to go outside, bring the outdoors indoors with a beautiful bouquet. Flowers can deliver an instant mood boost and serve as a reminder that beauty still exists in the world.
If your loved one is having a challenge getting to the grocery store or is missing their favorite meal at their local restaurant, send some of their favorite foods to their doorstep. You can send groceries through services such as Pea Pod or Amazon Fresh. You can send ingredients and recipes for specific dishes through services such as Blue Apron or Hello Fresh. Or you can check with their favorite restaurant to see if they’re offering delivery services, or search restaurants on websites like GrubHub.
With a little imagination and determination, you can still socialize with loved ones during this time. Your efforts will not only help you stay connected, it’ll be a big mood boost for everyone involved. Need a little help along the way? In addition to full assessments, we are currently offering brief virtual consultations to help families navigate during this difficult time. Contact us today.