One of the most significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is the physical separation that many family members are experiencing. It’s important to maintain distance to avoid spreading the disease. At the same time, the consequences of separation need to be weighed. Seniors need continued care and connection without putting them in harm’s way due to exposure to this virus.
How do you maintain relationships with senior family members during the holiday season? The key is to keep communication open while also carefully navigating the recommendations from the CDC and local health mandates.
Connection Through Technology
Sometimes maintaining communication is as simple as picking up the phone to call or text a loved one. Check in throughout the day through personal conversation. Send videos of the grandkids, photos, or silly memes to lighten the mood.
A variety of tools allow you to have face-to-face interactions over the screen. Consider using FaceTime or Zoom to schedule a get-together with family. Invite everyone to bring their favorite beverage and chat over video.
Also, help loved ones find access to digital fitness programs. It’s essential to maintain mobility and balance, especially when staying at home. YouTube has many online streaming videos that include chair-based exercises designed for seniors.
Other Ways to Reach Out
Don’t underestimate the importance of reaching out through methods that are familiar to older generations. Care packages and letters in the mail give seniors something to look forward to each week. If the person is in an assisted living center, don’t send perishable items since many of the facilities are quarantining the packages for a few days before delivery to the resident.
A few other ideas:
- Comfort Items: Provide the person with comfort items, such as new pajamas and soft blankets.
- Hobbies and Entertainment: Hobby items, books, and crafting materials can help the person pass the time.
- Meal Delivery: You can assist with meals by using a food delivery service or reaching out to Meals on Wheels.
Since seniors are in the high-risk category for complications from COVID-19, it’s important to use caution when reuniting families in person. Extra care and attention are needed from family members and support staff to ensure your loved one’s safety.
This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal or medical advice.