It’s easy to get caught up in our busy lives, but it’s important to stay connected to our loved ones, especially elderly parents. They might be dealing with some pretty big life changes, and when they feel connected to their family and friends, it makes it easier to handle. While you might not always have time for long in-person visits, there are many ways to stay connected.
Spend time together
If you’re lucky enough to be close by, be there in-person to show appreciation to your loved one. Even just a short visit where you pop in to say hello is wonderful. If you have more time, bring them lunch or dinner for you to enjoy together. You can also arrange to take them out shopping, go for a coffee or tea, or find a local activity to enjoy together. They’ll enjoy getting out and it’s even better if you can go with them run a few errands that they would normally not be able to do alone.
If you can manage it, schedule a standing appointment for the same day and time each week. It’s great to set up a routine, since it ensures that you both set aside time to spend together. At Bria Communities, we welcome friends and families of our residents. There is plenty of indoor and outdoor space for families to meet and spend time together.
Pick up the phone
Many caregivers have to travel up to an hour or more in order to visit their loved ones, which can make it tricky to arrange frequent visits. Thankfully, we can use the good old telephone to fill in the gaps. Schedule a time to chat daily or weekly, so you always have enough time for a longer chat. It’s a great way to connect without being distracted, and gives you both the chance to share news and ask questions.
Use technology to keep in touch
You can also use email or text messages to keep in touch. This is a great option for seniors who are eager to learn more about technology. You can set them up with a smartphone, tablet or computer, and teach them how to use it. If they want to learn even more, see if you can find a computer class they can take at a nearby community centre or senior’s centre. Having this technology available to them really opens up a world of information and entertainment to them.
Video calls are great too, since it’s like having a face-to-face chat, even when you can’t be there in person. It’s best to schedule video calls ahead of time so they can have time to get everything set up, or have someone else support them get set up to receive the call.
Find a place to volunteer together
Volunteering is a great way to spend time together while being of service to others. There are always many local organizations that could use a helping hand. Look for opportunities that allow you both to contribute to a cause in a field you’re interested in. For example, you could cook in a soup kitchen, feed the hungry, work with children, or volunteer at local cultural and arts events.
It gives them the chance to put their skills to work and share their knowledge with others. They’ll love the feeling they get from supporting others, and it’s a great way for you to bond. It’s also a great way them to make new friends. They might be less nervous talking to new people if you’re there with them.
Send a care package
If you live far away from your loved one, sending a care package is a wonderful way to let them know you’re thinking about them. Put together a box with a few things you know they’ll need, like hand lotion, lip balm, socks, slippers, etc. Be sure to include a few treats too, like their favourite candy or snacks. Add in something to keep them busy too, like an activity book with crossword puzzles or a jigsaw puzzle. Send it with a handwritten note or letter and an old photograph for that extra personal touch.
These are just a few of the ways you can connect with your loved ones. Any efforts you make to stay in touch and involved in the lives of your loved ones are sure to be appreciated.