The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough for everyone. No one has escaped the crippling effects of the spread of this virus. While front-line workers have been at the most risk, there’s another category of people facing troubles – senior citizens, especially the ones living in nursing homes. Today we’ll talk about ways to stay connected with grandparents during the pandemic.
Grandparents have lost in-person connection and quality time with their children and grandchildren because visitation is either not allowed or strongly recommended against. Plus, connecting on social media isn’t a luxury they have since most are not tech-savvy.
It’s important now more than ever to let them know they are not alone and will always have the support of younger generations. However, how can one safely stay connected with grandparents when options are so limited? Let’s discuss in detail how you can be there for them without putting their health at risk.
1. Set a regular schedule to connect with them
By and large, a routine is very important for older people. They prefer doing certain things at a particular time in the day. This is why, whether you are looking to voice/video call them or visit them from a distance, make sure to choose a particular time of the day to do this.
Stick to this schedule and always be on time to let them know that you are here for them.
2. Make regular video calls with them
Voice calls are often not enough to keep your grandparents hopeful and happy. Like any other person, older people crave to see others’ faces and talk to them to be able to feel connected. Make video calls at a particular time of the day and spend time talking to them about their concerns.
Let them know the gravity of the pandemic and explain to them that the situation is only temporary. Ask them how they’ve been doing and what activities have been keeping them busy. Also, check to make sure everything is okay at their house or the nursing home and if they need anything urgently.
Let them know the importance of wearing masks and washing their hands regularly. Make sure to not keep the conversation focused on the pandemic.
Make a few jokes, share funny stories, let them know what you’ve been up to, or about an act of kindness you heard about. The idea is to keep the mood light and bring a smile to their faces.
3. Mail letters and cards
Everyone loves receiving thoughtful letters and cards. Especially when it was one of the main forms of communication for a good portion of their life. Send them regularly and share what they love hearing about. Validate their feelings and let them know how much you care about them.
It doesn’t just have to be a letter or a card. You can also create drawings, notes, or other such creative projects. Get all the grandchildren to write notes of love and optimism on the cards and mail them to your grandparents.
These little gestures of love and gratitude are a very important way to stay connected with grandparents and can lift their spirits instantly.
They might not ask for it, but your grandparents also need self-care in their lives.
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4. Get them enrolled in community programs
To help ease the loneliness, it’s always a good idea to spend some time working on a project or being involved and connected with someone you care about. Instead of letting your grandparents waste time and feel unsatisfied on social media platforms, enroll them in community programs to keep their minds engaged.
There are pen pal programs where your grandparents can be in written conversation with someone. You can also enroll them as teachers or mentors to assist students in studies online. This way, they don’t just feel connected but also use their skills to spend quality and productive time.
5. Send them care packages
They might not ask for it, but your grandparents also need self-care in their lives. Since buying these things for themselves can be tough, you can send care packages to them instead.
If your grandparents are in an assisted living facility, send them a care package consisting of their favorite things, whether it’s food, magazines, puzzles or beauty products. You could even send them an old family album or a movie they really like watching.
If they live in their own house, along with these items, you can also regularly send them groceries. This can be incredibly helpful for them especially if they are under quarantine.
If you’re technology-savvy, consider putting together a photo album online that is turned into a hardcopy book that can be shipped to them. Shutterfly.com is a popular website that has great discounts most of the time. Another option is a Wi-Fi digital photo frame that you can send photos to from anywhere.
And give your family members the information needed so they can also send photos. Your grandparents will love the surprise of getting new photos regularly.
6. Don’t let the loneliness get to your grandparents
Whether they’re living in their house or a nursing home, your grandparents are at high risk from the pandemic. They need your care, concern, and reassurance to feel safe and protected during these times. Don’t let the loneliness get to them. No matter what, make it a priority to stay connected with your grandparents.
Life comes with many twists and turns. In times of such uncertainty, it’s important to know how to be there for your loved ones when you’re physically unable to. This is why life insurance is so essential for protecting your family’s future.
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About the writer
Director of Creative Strategy
Greg is Quotacy’s Director of Creative Strategy. He has an eclectic past from working on movie scripts to creating ad campaigns for major brands. His love of creative solutions drove him to strategy, and he now uses his powers to help families protect their loved ones. Outside of work, Greg spends his time off the grid hunting, fishing, camping, biking, hiking, and walking his dogs.