In order to keep our seniors safe and slow the spread of COVID-19, they have placed heavy restrictions on the 65+ community. They have been restricted from their daily leisurely and group activities, as well as seeing their loved ones. This has left many of them feeling isolated, anxious, and lonely. Seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s are most affected by the confusion and irritation that comes along with the inability to understand that severity of the situation and the need for constant reminding.
We are going to share 5 small, but practical tips for staying connected with the seniors you care about.
1. Establish a routine time for communication.
This helps reassure seniors that you are there for them and gives them something to look forward to. When they are expecting a check-in and routinely receive it, there is a feeling of comfort and connection amidst trying times.
If your loved one has dementia or alzheimers you can provide a clear, written schedule for them to aid this process.
2. Talk on the phone
In an age of texting and Zoom, we forget how nice it is to just receive a good old-fashioned phone call. The best part is, they already know how to do this and won’t need assistance setting it up.
3. Video Calls
If your senior has access to a computer or smartphone, a video call is a great way to go! It is also a way for you to see how they are doing physically without having to ask a million questions. There are many popular services that can be easily explained over the phone; Zoom, Facetime, Google Hangout, and Skype are all great options.
4. Drop off letters or care packages
There are some easy steps you can take to ensure the package is safe. Wash your hands thoroughly before putting it together, make sure everything going into it has been properly sanitized, and double bag it. You can include handwritten notes, photographs they would enjoy seeing, favorite treats they may be unable to purchase at this time, or comfort items.
5. Encourage family and friends to send letters or cards
Most studies suggest that the virus can only live on paper and cardboard for a few hours at most. Receiving cards and letters from loved ones will put a smile on a seniors face much longer than that.
Everyone loves getting mail, and especially when it’s an unexpected treat. They will also be able to see these items in their rooms for weeks to come as a reminder that they are loved and missed.
Caretakers can play a large role in companionship and aid in daily life tasks, but nothing replaces the love of your close family and friends. Stay in touch and stay safe!