COVID-19 has caused the world to adjust to social distancing, which can be especially tough for those with loved ones in senior living. Whether your loved one is in assisted living, memory care, or any other type of long-term care, you likely will be met with new policies that limit visitation to see them in person to help keep them safe. However, in today’s world, there are more options than ever before to keep in touch with your loved one. Here are a few of the most commonly used tools in senior living to ensure that people are keeping the social in social distancing.
Why not help your older loved one learn a new skill while enjoying the benefits of (almost) face-to-face conversation? You can encourage them to learn video chat software like Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom. Your loved one’s senior living community will likely have staff helping them with the technology aspect of connecting with you. Most will also reach out to help coordinate the time of the chat. Experts have stated that the benefits go beyond keeping in touch with you by saying, “Once they’re comfortable using the tech, they will have access to a lot of the resources that we’re all using to get through this too: staying connected with friends and community, being able to participate in virtual events, online book clubs, and video lunch dates — some of the things we need to stay connected.” The silver lining to all of this can be that your loved one gets to learn a new skill.
Does your loved one’s assisted living or memory care community have preexisting technology in-place that kept you virtually connected with them prior to this? If so, that technology didn’t go anywhere. Various photo sharing and family communication technologies are used across senior living and can be extra valuable to you during this time. To learn more about what your loved one’s community offers, contact the building to learn more.
One of the simplest methods for all parties involved is a simple phone call. There’s no new technology for the senior to learn and you still get to hear each other’s voices and have a real-time conversation. Professionals in the technology field have claimed that, “Texting and emailing are often useful for quick, logistical, or low-priority communications, but…. for more complex matters, spoken conversations can’t be replaced.” Therefore, replacing in-person conversation with phone calls is much more effective than with written means of communication like texting or emailing.
If you are committed to the idea of written communication, there is a fun and more personal way to do so. There’s nothing quite like a handwritten letter, especially for seniors. If the idea of touching mail doesn’t sit well with you, you can also write out your letter on a whiteboard or piece of paper and send a photo of it to your loved one via text or email. It can also help improve the mental health of your elderly loved one. According to Domtar, “Research shows that handwriting letters and notes enhances cognition, creativity and social skills.” So, if you’re looking for fun ways to stay connected, use some of the extra time you now have to write out a letter for your loved one.