If there’s anything this past year has taught us, it’s that we need one another. Spending quality time in-person with friends and family benefits us mentally, emotionally, and even physically - at every age. If you’re planning to spend time with aging loved ones, here are some helpful tips to make your time together both safe and special.
1) Call Ahead
Reach out to your loved one before you visit. Let them know in advance that you’d like to come by and spend time together. Consider their comfort level and ask them plainly if they’re open to an in-person visit. This is considerate in any season, and it’s especially important now as we continue to navigate the ebbs and flows of the pandemic.
If your friend or family member lives in a residential care facility like a nursing home, call the office to ask what their current visitor guidelines are.
2) Prioritize Safety
With the coronavirus continuing to spread, it’s important to consider any risk that might accompany a visit with older adults. Begin by checking your own health and the health of any family members who would join you. Have you been fully vaccinated? Are you experiencing any symptoms of illness?
Then consider the health of those you plan to see. Do they have any high-risk health concerns? Are you planning to include children in the visit? While kids don’t often get as sick with the virus, they can spread it.
During a pandemic, risk will always be a factor. Taking reasonable steps to lower the chances of infecting one another can make a difference. In addition to paying attention to health, look up local guidelines for in-person gatherings.
Take advantage of summer weather and meet outside, if possible. Spend time outdoors where you can safely distance and breathe plenty of fresh air. Also be sure that shade and shelter are available for protection from direct sun, heat, or inclement weather.
3) Spark Conversation
Once you’ve taken steps towards having a safe visit, plan for fun. Enjoying one another’s company is the goal! If you haven’t seen your loved one for a while, spend some time catching up. Even if you have been together recently, good questions always help start good conversations.
Taking an interest in another person and giving them your attention is a gift in itself. Ask about how they’re doing now, what captures their interest, or if any past memories have been popping up. Let the conversation go where it will, and ask questions along the way.
4) Bring an Activity
Talking and playing go hand-in-hand. Plan to bring something to do together like a puzzle or a favorite card game. If you’re meeting outside, yard games like cornhole, bocce ball, or lawn darts offer great ways to have fun together while getting some exercise. Parks and walking trails also offer scenic places to walk and talk together.
If restful activity suits them more, take along a book of jokes, a new board game, a movie, or a puzzle depicting one of their favorite places or scenes. Consider leaving the activity as a gift that they can do again, either alone or with others after your visit ends.
5) Bring a Fun Snack
Fun food and drinks always make for a nice time. Bring along something simple and healthy to enjoy eating together. Check with your loved one in advance about any dietary restrictions they might have, and plan accordingly.
You might make or buy some fruit-based popsicles for an afternoon at the park. Or cut up some watermelon, cantaloupe, or fresh veggies for a refreshing snack. Sparkling water is both light and hydrating and comes in a variety of flavors. On a rainy day, tea and sandwiches will do the trick. It could also be fun to bring along a cookbook or recipe and prepare a treat together to share.
Whatever you plan to do together, preparing in advance for safety and fun will yield a special time with your loved ones.
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 continue to operate 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.