Human interaction is an essential part of life. It’s a way to communicate empathy, (Lamothe 2018) love, and appreciation and comes in many forms such as a handshake, hug, kiss, or spending time with those who you care about most.
The COVID pandemic (Coronavirus 2020) has drastically changed how people all across the world are able to interact with their loved ones, especially the elderly who live in assisted living communities. Most have been in isolation for the last few months without the possibility of in-person visits. Although it is meant to protect their health, it doesn’t make it any less difficult for both residents and their families.
Thank goodness for technology and other forms of communication to help make things easier. Here are six creative ways you can stay social with your elder loved one amid isolation.
1. Video Calls
If you miss seeing your loved one in person, this is a great way to stay in touch and feel like you’re together. Please communicate with your senior’s caregivers to have them help set up the digital platform you’d like to use and assist your loved one with answering or starting a video call.
A few of the most popular video platforms include Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime or Skype. All are free to use and are easy to navigate, so your loved ones should be able to access them on their own once they’ve been shown how they work.
2. Send a Care Package
There is nothing better than a gift in the mail or a special delivery to brighten your loved one’s day. You could include a few of their favorite treats, games, books, or puzzles. Although it can be very lonely being isolated for months at a time, getting a surprise package with some much-needed entertainment can make all the difference for your senior family member.
3. A Traditional Phone Call
If the thought of having to navigate technology with video chat is overwhelming, it’s easy to hop on a call and talk to your loved one. Schedule some time every day if you’re able to check-in that often. It’ll make all the difference, knowing that someone is concerned for their well being and wants to take some time to talk with them.
4. Encourage Daily Activity
During a time of isolation, your elderly loved one may not be able to leave their assisted living community and may be spending a lot of time in their room. Coordinate with their caregivers to allow time in their schedule each day to go outside for a few minutes whether they go for a walk around the property or just sit outside to soak in some sun. Fresh air will do them good and help them not feel so isolated being inside their room all day.
5. Schedule a Window Visit If Permitted
Many assisted living communicates are allowing loved ones to stop by and say hi to their elderly loved ones through a window or door. If allowed, it’s a great way for you to make an in-person connection and help them feel a sense of belonging to finally see you again.
6. Open Line of Communication with Caregivers
Make sure that you’re checking in on your elderly loved one as much as possible without overwhelming their care staff. Be sure to get frequent updates on your senior’s eating habits, emotional, and physical health. This will help you to make sure they are getting the best care possible when you’re not able to check on them in person.
Giving You Peace of Mind
Rest assured that your elderly loved one’s assisted living community is going above and beyond to protect their health. They strictly follow all state and local mandates and the CDC’s recommended guidelines (COVID19 2020) to ensure added safety and protection for their residents, giving you peace of mind knowing they are being well taken care of.
This time of isolation will not last forever, and until you’re able to hug them again, use these creative ways to stay social with your elderly loved one. They are all excellent forms of communication that will help you keep in touch and let them know just how much you care.