Staying connected to family members when miles apart is important throughout every stage of life. However, older adults can especially benefit from feeling connected to and supported by their loved ones. Research has suggested that seniors who are isolated at home alone can often feel lonely, anxious, and depressed more often than their peers. Furthermore, seniors who are isolated are also at a higher risk of physical complications like obesity, heart disease, and cognitive decline.
In short, connection matters. Unfortunately, regular in-person visits are not always an option for seniors and their family members. Maintaining meaningful long-distance relationships or traditions can feel difficult. Here are a few ways you can connect with your loved one no matter the reasons or circumstances that might keep you apart.
Make Video Chats More Meaningful
Fortunately, technology such as FaceTime, Skype, and other video call applications have made traditional phone calls seem obsolete. There’s something more meaningful about the visit when you upgrade to using video. Not only can you see one another, but it also feels a bit more exciting to use technology like this.
Send Special Care Packages
Receiving snail mail is exciting for everyone, but especially for a senior living community resident. Aim to send a special care package monthly if possible and remember that you don’t have to include many goodies to make it special for the person receiving it. Try to include a sweet treat, a handwritten note, and supplies for a hobby for them to enjoy in their apartment. For example, include some new stationery and stamps so they can write back, or a bird-watching journal so they can record the birds they see on their next stroll.
Play Games Together Online
If your loved one is tech-savvy and loves a bit of competition, rally your family to play online games together as a new way of connecting. You can try Words with Friends, Yahtzee Party, or even card favorites such as hearts or euchre. Anyone who has a smartphone or device can join in on the fun; just be sure that everyone knows good internet safety practices.
Take a Virtual Trip
If you and your family are heading out on a scenic hike or enjoying a fabulous vacation, consider taking along your senior loved one. A quick video call can bring your loved one right to the top of the trail you just hiked so that they can enjoy the view with you. It’s a great way to include your loved one in your family experience, even though you may be miles apart.
There are plenty of ways to connect with your senior loved one, and it is vitally important to their mental and physical health. However, if you can’t always schedule regular calls or video chats, a senior living community offers opportunities for residents to socialize and share new experiences with their neighbors. In fact, senior communities today are vibrant and busy places where residents can try a new hobby, learn something new, or take a trip with their friends.
At Summit of Uptown, we encourage family involvement as much as possible. We also work hard to create a peer network among residents and staff members that feels like an extended family. Call us today to find out more about what makes our community so special.
In the meantime, if you are curious about how to choose a senior living community that will feel like home, download our free guide, “Finding a Safe and Comfortable Senior Living Community.” You’ll learn expert tips on what to look for in order to make a confident decision.