As our elders stay inside their homes, their apartments and their residential communities, we search for ways to connect with them as well as to make their lives and their care better. Here are 10+ ways to connect and care for your elders during this unprecedented time.
Some are simple, but simple works right now.
Engage with Them:
- Send a note or card in the mail. Include a photo, a drawing, or news clipping that you want to share. Elders love getting snail mail.
- Ask them to write you a story that they’ve never told you before.
- If your elder has FaceTime or their community has a tablet that they are using for family connections, use this means to have some virtual face-to-face time.
- Set up a daily or weekly chat time. Stick to it.
- Send them magazines, puzzles, books, craft supplies. You can order online and have them delivered.
- Some floral companies are doing contact-free deliveries. Order balloons or flowers to brighten your elder’s day. Springtime is great for blooming plants.
- Send your elder a box of blank cards and a book of stamps. They can use them to write to loved ones and friends. Send addresses or suggestions so they don’t have to search.
- Offer to do their spring yard work. You can visit from a distance that way.
- If you live nearby, order a food delivery for them and the same one for you. Then call them while you enjoy the same meal.
Make Sure Your Elders Are Getting Consistently Good Care:
- Check to see if your elder’s doctor or care provider is offering telehealth visits. Sign your elder up for telehealth instead of their next in-person visit, if appropriate.
- Set up a Care Conference with your elder’s care providers via video or phone. Ask about physical, cognitive and mental health.
- If your elder lives in a care community or retirement community, call the Activities Director and ask if you can order or send something for their residents to enjoy. Trivia books to use? Puzzle books? Individual crafts?
- Now is a great time to set up mail order Rx deliveries for maintenance meds. If your elder is using a retail pharmacy, set up delivery with them (or move to a retail pharmacy that does do delivery).
- Staff members at retirement and care communities are running ragged right now. Order delivery of meals, snacks or gift cards. Call and ask what they need.
- Check with your local Area Agency on Aging to see what resources are available at low or no cost to assist your elder right now.
More than anything, find ways to stay connected. Isolation is not a good place for anyone, but especially not elders.
Stay well, friends. Know we’ll work our way through this time and find some very special connections along the way.