Ways to stay in touch with elders during social distancing
People aged 70 and over have been urged to self-isolate for 12 weeks as the government bids to prevent the NHS from being completely swamped from coronavirus cases. Pensioners will effectively be cut off from friends, family and loved ones while health officials desperately try to limit the spread of this highly contagious virus, create a vaccine and attempt to keep the death toll down to a minimum.
The next few months are going to be tough for everyone as the nationwide lockdown intensifies, but it will be even tougher for those who are being encouraged to stay indoors at all costs.
So how can we ensure our elders aren’t going to be cut off from society and what can we do to keep their spirits high?
It’s times like these that make you truly appreciate how important family and community is. Whether it’s your parents, grandparents or nearest neighbours who fall into this category, they need our love and support more than ever right now.
Sections of the older generation may not be savvy when it comes to modern technology, but most of them have access to a mobile phone or a landline. A simple phone call will lift their spirits no end. If they live alone, hearing another person’s voice and being able to talk about their fears and emotions will help them get through this situation. Even a regular text message will lift their spirits.
Some older people, though, have embraced technology and can’t get enough of social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. These platforms allow them to engage with friends and family, share information and even play games. There are several interactive games on Facebook that allow users to challenge other participants, such as wordsearches and topical quizzes. If you can arrange regular game time with older people, keeping their brains sharp, it will be hugely beneficial to their mental health. You can even create family leagues to see who is the smartest.
WhatsApp is another great tool that can keep the older generation in the loop. With messaging, video calls and group chat facilities, WhatsApp offers a hugely practical way for families and friends to stay in touch.
If you live near your parents or grandparents, you can arrange to fetch their shopping and leave it on the door for them to take in. While you are there, you can converse in person, providing you stick to the strict social distancing measures that have been introduced. This visual stimulation and being able to share a laugh and a joke will improve the mood of everyone involved.
You can also take a traditional approach and write an old-fashioned letter. Writing letters may have been surpassed with the rise of emails, but everyone loves receiving a hand-written letter in the post. With all this time on your hands, there’s nothing stopping you or your children putting pen to paper, reminiscing of days gone by and making plans for once we get back to normality. Children can even draw or paint pictures for grandparents and elderly relatives to stick in their windows or attach to the fridge.
There are many ways to raise the spirits and keep in touch with the elderly during this pandemic, and given the fact that we are all being told to stay inside our homes as much as possible, there is no reason not to reach out and be there for our loved ones. So whether you plan on picking up the phone, challenging their grey matter or putting pen to paper, just make sure you are there for them and keep them involved in your lives.
Parental Choice helps working families with advice on childcare and eldercare, alongside their childcare search services and sourcing residential care homes for the elderly.
For advice on care for the elderly get in touch or see our useful resources.
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