Combating Isolation Among Seniors During Social Distancing
As states begin to loosen restrictions and allow many people to ease back into daily routines and small public gatherings, seniors still find themselves at home. While continued social distancing may be necessary to protect their health, older adults can face feelings of being left behind as others begin to move on with their lives. Families, friends, and caregivers have an important part to play for their loved ones during this tentative time. Reaching out to seniors can go a long way to protect their emotional and mental well-being. This time of continued social distancing may even lend itself to creating cherished memories together.
Below are some creative ways to reach out to those in your care while still practicing social distancing. Gather ideas, improvise, and have some fun.
Make Voice Contact
Simply making voice contact says, You are important, and you matter to me. Call your loved one on the phone for a conversation. Ask them about a favorite childhood memory, how they’re feeling, or what they’re looking forward to later in the day and in weeks to come.
Read together over the phone. Choose a book or magazine to read aloud to your loved one (or have them read to you!). Sharing the next chapter of a beloved book or the newest issue of a favorite magazine will give you both something to anticipate together.
Play a trivia game like 20 Questions, tell each other jokes or riddles, or watch a favorite TV show while on the phone. Laughing together and being lighthearted can relieve stress and remind you both there is more to life than this current situation.
Pray together. Sharing hopes, concerns, joys, needs, and fears will help you connect and remember that neither of you is alone.
Create Visual Contact
FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom call each other. You may need to talk seniors through any needed set up. Seeing one another’s faces can encourage everyone present, even when you can’t all be together in person.
Play a game together online. There are a variety of games designed for collaborative play over the internet. Or enjoy an old favorite like Pictionary or hangman.
If your senior has a first floor window, you can head over for a window visit. Take some folding chairs, give them a call on the phone, and settle in for a chat.
Give your older person something tangible to help them remember that they are loved and thought of. You can have children make signs to hang on their refrigerator. Or send them mail with bible verses, poetry, or words of encouragement. A past photograph of you together can also help foster feelings of connection and hope for future times together.
You can also give seniors something to care for, like a new plant. While it won’t take up a lot of their thought or time, a plant can remind seniors that they are needed and have something to offer. Caring for another—even a plant—can help ease feelings of isolation by directing their thoughts outwardly towards something in their care.
Send seniors something to do, like a creative prompt or a project. Create a small care package of craft items or puzzles. A new embroidery project or model airplane can give you both something to talk about during video calls or window visits. Include a book of crossword puzzles you can plan to do together over the phone.
While none of these options are the same as being together in person, they can still help those in your care feel remembered and loved. Planning chats and visits can give you both something special to look forward to throughout the week.
For further ideas on how to reach out to seniors to prevent isolation, check out the following link:
The Cedars Retirement Community
The Cedars Retirement Community is a beautiful lakeside retirement residence located just outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Cedars believes in providing the highest quality of life and opportunity for seniors. We are operating with great care during this pandemic and are following all guidelines issued by the CDC and ISDH. Please contact us with any questions you may have.