4 Ways To Keep Your Loved Ones Engaged And Connected While Social Distancing Is Still Necessary

4 Ways To Keep Your Loved Ones Engaged And Connected While Social Distancing Is Still Necessary

As communities around the country are starting to rebound, re-emerge, and find their way back to normal (whatever that means now) from the effects of COVID 19, there’s one thing that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon — social distancing. Around the country, restaurants are attempting to reopen, but now they have significantly lower occupancy levels, large gatherings are still prohibited, and while grocery stores remained open for the duration, the markers on the floors remind us to keep our distance.

 

And with good reason. While we still know relatively little about COVID-19, we do know this. Maintaining a safe social distance is really the only way to prevent or slow the transmission of the illness. And while people of all ages are susceptible, the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Because of this high vulnerability, caregivers everywhere are keeping a watchful eye on their loved ones, limiting their contact with anyone other than immediate family members, refraining from all types of social gatherings, and perhaps even foregoing trips to the doctor unless absolutely necessary.

While strict adherence to social distancing protocols remains crucial, it can quickly lead to feelings of isolation among the elderly as well. The good news is that there are fun and meaningful ways to keep your loved ones occupied and motivated, even while socially distancing. With a little creative thinking, social distancing and loneliness do not have to go hand in hand.

Here are some great ideas for keeping your loved ones engaged and connected.

Get Online

Let’s face it technology was the saving grace for many of us over the last few months, and there are plenty of applications that are fairly intuitive and user friendly for seniors as well. Facebook, Skype, Facetime, and Zoom are just a few that come to mind. While they may be a bit intimidating at first, taking the time to show your loved ones how to use these programs could have a positive impact on their lives long after quarantines and shut-downs are over. Moreover, an introduction to the world wide web can serve as a means of entertainment for seniors as well as a welcome reprieve from news fatigue and information overload.

Podcasts

Because many podcasts are structured as conversations, they tend to be a bit more interesting than watching TV or reading a book about a favorite subject. In the last few years, podcasts have become incredibly popular for all ages groups, and perhaps now would be a good time to introduce this media format to your loved ones

Phone Calls

Not only will daily (or weekly) phone calls allow you to gauge how your loved one is doing, those “old-fashioned” phone calls also have the added benefit of brightening someone’s day. If you find that your schedule is jam-packed, involve the children and grandchildren, and have them make a few calls too. After all, it's no secret that grandparents love to hear from their grandkids. Encourage grandparents to share stories from their past or childhood, this is a great way for kids to learn about family histories and a wonderful way for grandparents (and even great-grandparents) to share stories that may otherwise be lost.

Virtual Book Clubs

Choose a book that you know everyone would enjoy reading and then have a discussion about it via phone or chat. Remember that audiobooks are widely available now too, and can be quite helpful for those who are visually impaired. If you feel that you might have too many plates to spin at once, try reaching out to your local library and see what they may be offering. If your local library is still closed, here are a few virtual book clubs recently recommended by Time magazine.

While the use of technology may require a little time investment upfront, it can go along way towards keeping boredom at bay while keeping your loved ones connected to the world around them.


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