Connecting with a Senior Loved One through Social Distancing

During these difficult times when social functions have been reduced for seniors, it is important to still stay connected with them as much as possible. There can be negative effects on seniors emotionally and mentally who are in isolation.

Social distancing does not mean social isolation, and even a potentially deadly virus should not force us to be alone. Now, more than ever, people need to find smart ways to stay connected from a distance.

Despite isolation, you do not have to be out of your loved one’s lives because they can’t physically be with you. Technology can be a great tool in staying connected during social distancing.

Here are some suggestions on how to stay close during these isolating times:

1. Pick up the phone – Take initiative and pick up the phone to call them if possible. Set a goal to talk to your loved one over a phone call at least once a week, or as much as their stamina will allow them.

2. Send mail and care packages – Everyone loves receiving things in the mail. Birthday cards, care packages, cartoon clippings, and special treats can make a senior loved one feel remembered and thought of.

3. Get comfortable with social media – Social media websites like Facebook and Instagram can be great tools in connecting with your family. You can use different settings to create family pages and groups where everyone participating can share photos, videos, and messages. It is free and fairly easy to do. This is a great way to stay connected daily.

4. Video call – We live in a day where technology can close the distance gap. We can see each other face-to-face on our phones or computers. FaceTime, Skype or similar messaging services are a step above phone calls. You need a webcam, speakers (if you don’t own built-in speakers) or a smartphone. It would be an excellent option if your grandchildren are younger and you want to establish a good start in helping them get familiar with who you are. This also allows you to feel like you have spent time together. You can sing songs, read books or even play a game in real time through a video call.

By embracing technology or even using snail mail, seniors who are in isolation can still spend social time with their loved ones from a distance. Distance doesn’t have to hurt a valuable family relationship. Despite the miles, it’s possible to nurture a close bond. You can be a special family member to your loved one through providing unconditional love, passing along your family traditions, and sharing wisdom. Interactions with your senior loved one in isolation can also give them companionship, enjoyment, and love.

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