The words “quarantine” and “socially distant” have become a normal part of our language. Over the past few months, we have emerged from various stages of isolation with a newfound tentativeness and suspicion. Masks and hand sanitizer are now the accessories of choice as our country works to quell the pandemic.
This pandemic has taken a toll and it is our beloved seniors who have born the brunt. Not only are the elderly the most vulnerable to this disease, but they have experienced the strictest isolation. In many assisted living facilities across the country, visiting family and guests are banned in an effort to protect the residents. Yet, the result is dramatic loneliness for the senior residents.
One friend told me in worried tones of her own mother who they are unable to visit. Severe loneliness has overtaken her mother who they call daily but are unable to facetime or video chat due to technology barriers. This friend has taken to mailing large print novels to her mother hoping to provide connection and entertainment through her love of reading.
Another friend put out a request for friends, family, and acquaintances to mail birthday cards to her brother who was celebrating alone in a facility. Desperate to care for their loved ones, family members are searching for ways to connect without seeing, touching, or hugging.
This unprecedented season has revealed our reliance on one another. We were not created to live life alone, without the contact of friends and family. While health experts dictate the need for distance, we must search for creative ways to connect in a socially distant way.
Creative Ways to Care for Your Socially Distant Loved One
- Call regularly. Video chat apps such as FaceTime are great ways to connect, but sometimes technology barriers get in the way. Regularly scheduled phone calls are vital to checking in on your senior loved one.
- Use snail mail. Send cards, letters, and homemade pictures from grandchildren and send them regularly. Minor holiday–send a card. Miss seeing them–send a card. Create a connection even when physical presence is lacking.
- Drive-by. If possible drive by the home or facility of your loved one. Stop for a socially distant wave or chat, whatever is possible as long as it meets the comfort levels of every party involved. Make an effort to lay eyes on one another.
- Send gifts. Think about the unique interests of your elderly loved one. Perhaps its novels like my friend’s mother. Or maybe it’s gardening and delivering new plants from a local garden center would be a welcome activity. Think outside of the box!
- Schedule a companion. Whether your loved one lives at home alone or in a facility, scheduling a companion caregiver can provide companionship for your loved one and peace of mind for you. Caregivers from Preferred Care at Home are professional and cautious, meeting necessary health precautions, frequent hand washing, and temperature monitoring.
This season is lonely and anxiety-provoking for many. It is our job to work in a creative way to make sure the most vulnerable are seen and loved well.
We’d love to hear from you! What creative socially distant ways are you caring for your loved ones?
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