For several months now, grandparents and elderly parents have been adhering to recommendations from public health officials in order to reduce their risk of exposure. So previously active seniors are staying home, knowing that the virus can have potentially life-threatening complications. For them, sheltering at home or in-place has also meant being unable to see family and friends in places that keep retirees active.
The Silverstone Living family is making it our utmost priority to care for our residents by combatting the loneliness and depression they may be experiencing as a result of the safety guidelines for COVID-19. Although these are difficult times, we are coming together as a community and a family to weather the storm.
Use Creativity To Stay Connected
As seniors across the country are impacted by the separation from their families and lack of regular group activities, connectedness remains vital for maintaining good physical and mental health.
We deeply encourage you to get creative with ways to stay in touch with loved ones. Here are some suggestions family members, loved ones and friends can help keep their favorite people in a retirement community lifted up during isolation:
Send a Hobby Box
Find a nice box at a craft store, decorate it and fill it with craft supplies or materials to work their existing hobbies. What would strike their interest? Crossword puzzles, brain teasers, paints and paper, slinkies, and crochet supplies are all great ideas. May hobby stores now deliver or offer curbside pickup services. Check out Michael’s or JoAnn’s.
Order a Customized Jigsaw Puzzle
Find your favorite picture of your family that brings joyful memories or a picture of where you had family vacation and turn it into a puzzle. There are a number of online companies that specialize in mail-order, custom puzzles. Take skill level into consideration when selecting the number of pieces. For those challenged with fine motor skills or dementia, try a puzzle with fewer pieces.
Use Delivery Services
Send a favorite meal or variety of snacks through DoorDash, Grubhub or a grocery app. For those who still enjoy cooking and are in assisted living or independent living communities, get their grocery list and shop for them. You can personally pick up and schedule delivery. Either way, be sure the name, address and room number of the recipient are included on the boxes or bags.
Share A Virtual Meal
If you’re already sending food, go ahead and plan a long-distance date. Be sure to plan for the food to arrive at the appropriate mealtime. You can call your family or see if the staff will help them use an app like Apple’s FaceTime, Zoom or Skype. If the app is too much, keep it simple and have your senior use the speakerphone feature on a cellphone or landline.
Play A Board Game, Read A Book Or Watch A Favorite Show
A cell phone set on speaker will work for any of these activities and may be best, because they may take some time. A video call would also work but isn’t necessary. These are activities in which the whole family can participate. If everyone can access the same game, book or show it may help with participation.
To plan ahead, send a copy of the book you’ll read together, or pick a favorite you know is already on their bookcase. Both the grandparent, child or grandchild can take turns reading pages aloud from the same book. If television is preferred, pick a favorite show for everyone. Consider using an app like Netflix or Amazon Prime, if more participants have access.
For those that have experienced memory loss, singing along to old familiar songs like “Happy Birthday” can bring back memories and is a skill that often remains even if speech is difficult.
Send Snail Mail
Handwritten cards and letters are more special than ever, perhaps because electronic communication is more common. Correspondence can be displayed and re-read and is a great reminder to the recipient that you care.