We’re all struggling during this difficult and uncertain time, but it’s the aging and disabled who are truly feeling the effects. To shield the most vulnerable members of society from the virus, assisted living services, nursing homes, and private homes across the country are taking precautions that limit interactions with the important people in their lives.
These precautions are important, of course, but they also lead to social isolation and depression.
So, if you can’t see your loved one in person, how do you show them you still care? How do you help them feel connected? What are your options?
- Coordinate virtual book reading sessions. If you have kids who love bedtime stories, schedule a video call so grandma or grandpa can read to them. So long as they have access to a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other digital device that supports video calls, they should be good to go. There are several video call apps available to use, including FaceTime, Skype, Amazon Alexa, and WhatsApp. Should your loved one be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with modern technology, their caregiver can lend a hand.
- Eat something together. Just as you can share a bedtime story via video calls, so can you share a meal. Order something with a meal delivery service and time it to arrive at just the right moment. Be sure to pay for the food yourself and pick a dish they would enjoy. Just because you’re miles apart, doesn’t mean you can’t make happy memories.
- Send an old-fashioned card or letter. Handwritten correspondence may be rare in this age of emails and Facebook messages, but that doesn’t make them any less special or meaningful. Tell them how much you miss them. Provide updates on friends and family. Include pictures or drawings. You don’t have to write a novel – even a short message will mean the world to them.
- Send them a jigsaw puzzle. Puzzles help people stay focused and stave off boredom. No matter what their age, it’s very easy for someone to get caught up in the challenge of putting the pieces together. To make it more fun, you can order a custom jigsaw puzzle from any number of companies using personal photos (ex: family portraits, vacation snapshots) or drawings. If money is an issue, make your own puzzle (there are countless tutorials available online for every skill set).