Seniors are easy victims of loneliness and the feeling of isolation. With the times of social distancing, it can be increasingly hard on seniors and their loved ones alike, as visitation is not recommended or accessible for many senior communities. Staying connected with seniors amidst times like these are more important than ever.
There are a number of viable options available to families and caregivers that will allow seniors to feel loved, cherished, and still in touch with their friends and family as they were before. The only way we can get through a pandemic is to be safe, but remember we are all in this together, and that we have to find ways to focus on the good and live more simply for the time being.
Give Virtual Solutions a Shot
The obvious solution in the situation of not having in-person communication is to do so through the implications of a phone call, text message, or email. Some seniors are not yet familiar with how to run a video call on their smartphone or computer, but an increasing number of seniors are moving quickly to get familiar with it.
Although being there with a loved one to feel their hug is worth more than anything, at least with a video call, there is the ability to visibly see a smile spread across a senior’s face, or watch them throw their head back in laughter.
Several platforms are available for mobile and desktop use such as Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, and even Facebook Messenger. All require free accounts but are relatively easy to use. If the senior and the loved one they are trying to reach both have Apple products, Facetime is the easy one-step way of starting a video call.
Utilize the Thoughtfulness of Snail Mail
Cards are a long-time tradition for some. Although losing popularity over the last few decades, card writing is beginning to make a comeback. Handwriting is essentially a physical reminder of a person who is far away. Kind words written on a beautiful card or stationary also tend to show a higher level of thoughtfulness than an electronic message.
Several websites are out there that have cards available online, but CardFool also offers free postage.
Send Them Something Beautiful
A card could fall into this category as well, or perhaps flowers or a puzzle with an artistic design, picture, or painting. A puzzle would offer a fun and relaxing activity, while the end result would present a beautifully finished piece. Zazzle has a great selection of these.
Drawings from the grandchildren, anything with color, will certainly brighten a senior’s day. These momentos will be something they treasure.
Send Them Something to Make Them Laugh
If you happen to find a funny article, be sure to forward it along to them. While this idea may seem simple, seniors who don’t have a lot going on will find enjoyment in having a reason to chuckle. Even a simple message with a good joke is worth the time.
Ask for a Story
This is for the seniors who enjoy reminiscing their past with their loved ones and sharing memories from a time much different than the present. You can always start the storytelling conversation with a simple question.
You can start by asking about their childhood, what their hometown was like, different hobbies, favorite pastimes or vacations, or even about other family members who were alive before them that you had never met. You never know what fascinating new story you may hear!
Kensington Place and Keeping Residents Connected
At Kensington Place, we are your partners in memory care. We advocate to provide exceptional care for senior loved ones and promise to love and care for them as we do our very own. Our community team has the expertise and compassion for our residents and we will continue to keep their safety as the top priority as we maintain the CDC recommendations of social distancing.
From the very beginning, Kensington Place has worked to uphold the ability to keep families involved. With the help of Slack, we were able to put a new system in place that is keeping families and friends up to date on their loved one’s well being and in constant contact with them. You can check out an article featuring Kensington Place on Slack’s website here.
Slack allows Kensington team members to easily share photos, kind messages, and updates on a private chat channel. These channels were created for each resident, allowing every individual to have easy access to communication.