Staying connected with seniors while social distancing

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live in a matter of months. Social distancing and self-isolation recommendations from experts are the new normal as health officials scramble to control the continuing spread of COVID-19. If you have a loved one living in an assisted living facility, or self-isolating at home, you may be wondering how to stay connected considering newly imposed visitor restrictions.

How can you be there for your elderly loved one if you aren’t allowed to physically be there?

Connecting while self-isolating

Social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook may be a natural connectivity outlet for you to stay in touch with friends and work colleagues, but the learning curve for our senior loved ones unfamiliar with much more than sending an email may prove too steep. And what if you have family member you’ve been visiting weekly to help keep their spirits up?

It is possible to let your loved one know you still care even if you can’t visit in person. Here are a few tips:

  • Let’s chat: If your loved one has access to a video chat-enabled device such as a smart phone or a tablet, you can stay connected with regular virtual real-time visits. If your loved one does not have a personal device, and is in a senior-living facility, you can contact the facility directly to ask if they have considered video-conferencing options for residents to stay connected to family and friends.
  • Camera. Action! If your loved one as a smart-phone or tablet, you might consider sending personal videos to keep their spirits up. Record videos of your kids playing with the family dog or telling their grandma or grandpa how much they love them and send them to your loved one. Videos of kids and puppies always make people happy.
  • Old-fashioned phone call: Talking by phone is still a powerful way to connect. You hear the sound of the other person’s voice and can exchange thoughts in real time.
  • Send a gift: Make your senior loved one smile with an electronic photo frame loaded with images of the entire family. What about a pair of fluffy slippers you picked out yourself? Whatever you choose, don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds (or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) and dry them thoroughly before handling any gifts to mail to your loved one.

Creatively connecting

It might take some creative thinking, but there are plenty of ways to stay connected with your loved one until visiting restrictions are lifted.

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Kevin Tharpe

With 25 years of experience, Kevin understands how estate planning, special needs planning, and government benefits programs work together. This is a crucial element of a thorough plan. He explains your eligibility for benefits programs and ensures that you do not make costly mistakes that may disqualify you or deplete your assets.

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