As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many seniors and their families find themselves quarantined at home. This can become a lonely time for your senior loved one as they miss out on time with their family and friends. Everyone is struggling with this new normal; however, it can be particularly isolating for seniors who already relied on visits from family and friends to stave off isolation. Here are a few ways to keep your senior connected while sheltering in place and practicing social distancing.
Facebook has been around for more than a decade now and has millions of people who log in daily. You can help your senior loved one create a Facebook account and locate all of their family and friends. Once they have an account, your senior parent can keep up with their social circle through their main feed. They can post pictures and let everyone know how they're doing during this period of confinement.
You can teach your senior to use Messenger through Facebook so they can have private conversations with friends. Another advantage of Facebook is that they can host a Facebook Live event to read a book to their grandchildren or to pass down a family secret recipe through a cooking demonstration. There are also games available on Facebook to keep their minds sharp and interact with other Facebook users.
To help seniors understand how to use the social media platform, check out our blog post: How Seniors Can Use Facebook.
Arrange a Car Parade
If your senior has a special event coming up during this quarantine period, you can arrange a car parade. You can ask family and friends to drive by your seniors loved one's home at the same time and date. They can honk and wave as they drive slowly past. It's a good idea to ask them to decorate their car in some way or create a banner with good wishes.
Your senior can watch from the porch or front steps as all their family and friends drive by. They can wave and see the people they love in person even if they can't go to their cars and talk to them.
Instagram is another long-lived social media platform. You can help your senior create an Instagram account and upload photos. They can upload a variety of recent photos and back-in-the-day photos. You can show them how to locate other family members and friends on Instagram and follow them.
It's beneficial to show them how to find a business and other groups to follow. If they love baking, you can help them find a bakery to follow that makes exquisite cakes and cookies.
Your loved one can create short videos to share with family and friends. Hashtags are a great way to find things that interest your senior and to help your senior to build a following on Instagram.
To help seniors discover what Instagram has to offer, check out our Senior Social Media Guide.
Virtual Family Game Night
Arrange a virtual family game night for your senior parent. You can contact other family members and arrange a date and time to play. There are online game companies that allow you to play online even when people are at different locations, such as JackBox Games and Skribbl.
Arrange to use a video conference app to ensure your senior can see and talk to everyone while they play some fun games. You can arrange for each family member to make the same snacks or order delivery of the same meal, such as pizza or burgers, to make it feel like a real party that everyone is in one location.
Create a Fundraiser
If your senior loved one meets with friends or family at a restaurant once a week or month, you might consider helping them create a fundraiser. You can contact all the people who normally attend the dinners and ask them to donate the typical cost of their meal and tip. Once you have enough funds, contact a locally owned restaurant and order a meal. Ask that the meal be delivered to your local hospital as a gift for the workers.
This type of fundraiser will help your senior loved one's local community. The restaurant will appreciate the business in these turbulent times, and the hospital workers will love the support. This is a great way for your senior to stay connected to the community they love and give something back.
Virtual Book Club
If your aging parent is already a member of a book club, then you already have a list of people to invite. Without a list, you can start by inviting your senior loved one's friends and family members to join the book club. You need to decide on a date, time, and book to talk about. Include all the necessary information on the invitation. If you like, you can share a list of snacks and drinks that everyone should have on hand so it feels like everyone is in the same room.
On the night of the book club meeting, you can use Zoom or some other video conferencing software to connect everyone in the club. Your senior can lead the meeting with questions about the book. It's a great way for your senior's to keep their mind active and connect with others.
Snail Mail and Cards
They say that letter writing is a dying art form, but this pandemic may give your senior the chance to pass down the skill. Start by encouraging your senior to write letters or send cards with a note in it to family and friends. You can buy a box of stationery or cards that reflects your senior's taste along with a book of stamps.
Next, ask family and friends to write back to your senior. You can ask the parents of younger kids to encourage their child to do a drawing or other piece of artwork. Once the letters and cards start to arrive, you can decorate the living room with them like you would Christmas cards.
At Caring Senior Service, we understand your senior's frustration of missing out on social events and connections. However, we all must remain healthy and safe during this pandemic. Please contact us to learn more about the services we offer.