5 Ways to Stay Connected with your Long Distance Senior Loved One

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From the Concordia family: Happy St. Patrick’s Day! For many of us this year, the holiday might not come with the celebrations we’re used to. Practicing social distancing means forgoing the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and group activities. And for seniors in a nursing home or personal care/assisted living facility with a temporary visitation restriction, spending the holiday with a loved one in person might not be an option.

While it’s not often a senior care community might have visitation restrictions, this situation might sound all too familiar if your senior loved one lives long distance. And for many family members, finding ways to stay connected can be a challenge.

At Concordia, we’re continuously looking for ways to help our residents stay connected and engaged with family members and friends. If you’ve been searching for ways to stay in touch with mom or dad if an in-person visit isn’t an option, below are five ways to reach out.

Video Chat
Video calling is a great way to stay in touch. Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and many different apps let you check in with the click of a button on any smartphone, tablet or Wi-Fi enabled device. While a video call might be a great and easy option for you, mom and dad might have some questions about getting connected. In cases where your loved one isn’t able to call, reach out to the facility staff members. They most likely will be happy to set up a video call to help connect mom or dad.

Related: Tips for Helping Seniors Stay Safe Online

Another great way to stay in touch is to send your loved one a “thinking of you” message. Whether you’re sending an email or text, a mailed letter or even a short video, there are a ton of ways to let mom or dad know you’re thinking of them throughout the day.

Care Packages or Subscription Services
A care package is always appreciated and can be a great way to let mom or dad know they’re on your mind. Consider sending a box filled with favorite foods (make sure you know their dietary restrictions), pictures of family and friends and favorite items. If you happen to be looking for something recurring, a subscription box may be the answer. Not only are most boxes budget-friendly, they can be great for seniors who have trouble with mobility. Many subscription boxes also have rebates and promotions for first-time subscribers.

If your senior loved one has an IPad, E-reader or other tech-friendly device, there are a ton of apps that can help you stay connected. Social networks like ThirdAge and Rezoom are specifically designed with seniors in mind and a great way to share photos, videos and updates. Additionally, you can always download interactive games to play together in real time. If your loved one enjoys reading, consider a Kindle or Nook to share books and catch up together on a phone call later.

Related: Incorporating Technology into Senior Living Communities  

While nothing beats enjoying an activity together in person, that doesn’t mean it’s not an option. Consider taking part in your loved ones favorite activity at a designated time during the day and then catching up on the details later. For example, you and your loved one can watch the same movie, read the same book, bake, cook, sew, craft, garden or enjoy any hobby together without an in-person visit. If mom and dad prefer video calling, you can take part in any activity while catching up together in real time.

To learn more about our senior care and health services at our locations in Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio and Tampa, Florida visit the care levels and services page of our website or call us at 724-352-1571. For the latest information about our visitation policies, read our COVID-19 information page here.

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