Make The Most Of Visits With Friends And Family

For older adults, feelings of loneliness can be a real challenge during “normal” times, and the social isolation of a pandemic only exacerbates this issue. Isolation can be a dangerous thing. Extended times between visits with loved ones can impact physical health in addition to social and emotional well being. Studies indicate that isolation in seniors can lead to increased risk for chronic conditions such as coronary artery disease, stroke, dementia and other conditions. Now, more than ever, it’s important to connect with loved ones frequently and make the very most of every visit. 

Ways to Connect 

Many senior communities adapt their visiting policies from time to time in order to prevent the spread of contagious disease (e.g. the seasonal flu, stomach bug, etc.). During times when in-person visits are not possible, connecting virtually can be a good option to help combat loneliness and isolation. FaceTime, Zoom, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are different options for video chatting with a loved one. No mask is required, so participants see each other’s faces and smile and laugh together. Whether visiting in person, over the phone or by video chat, below are some tips to make the most of visits with family and friends.

Make a Date 

Spontaneous visits can be fun, but scheduling a date ahead of time can be beneficial as it gives everyone something to look forward to and may also prevent conflict with appointments or other events. The advance notice also enables everyone to look their best. Getting the date on the calendar is important whether the visit takes place in person or over a computer screen.

Observe the Daily Schedule 

When planning a visit, be sure to be respectful of each person’s daily routine. It’s especially important for older adults to maintain a daily schedule that includes a mix of activity and rest periods. For example, a visit during a time normally reserved for an afternoon nap may cause irritability or fatigue. Try to schedule a visit for a time that is the least disruptive.

Keep it Interesting 

Visiting with loved ones, especially during a time of social distancing, sometimes requires a bit more thought and creativity. Here are some fun ideas and activities to help make remote or virtual visits more engaging for everyone: 

  • Play a board game or a card game, or answer trivia questions. These activities can be enjoyed virtually by positioning a tablet or monitor so your loved one can see the game board or by using two decks of cards. 
  • Regularly make and share fun or silly videos about your daily life. 
  • Enjoy a snack or a cup of coffee or tea at the same time during a video chat visit.
  • Ask your loved one to walk you through making a family recipe, while you prepare the actual dish in your kitchen.
  • Take pictures regularly and share them, or go through old photos and share anecdotes, memories and stories from the past.
  • Sing songs together, do a craft at the same time or play charades. These activities are especially fun if children are part of the visit.
  • Plan ahead for potential lags in the conversation by compiling a list of topics:
    • Ask about childhood memories, major events in their lives and their biggest accomplishments.
    • Ask their opinions on current events, politics or technology.
    • Ask about favorites: musical groups, ice cream flavors, movies, books, etc.
    • If it is safe to do so, meet outdoors and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air.

    Stay Connected

    Finding ways to stay connected during this pandemic may require a little extra planning, but it’s important for everyone’s well being. At Kyffin Grove, we continually find creative ways for residents to interact safely. We facilitate video chats, phone calls and other physically distanced meet ups between residents and loved ones. To learn more about our supportive living community, contact us to schedule a virtual tour.