How To Keep Your Senior Loved One’s Morale Upbeat During Covid-19

With the Covid-19 pandemic now entering its seventh month, are you having ongoing concerns about the morale of your senior loved one? While The Classic continues to offer patio visits for interaction with families and friends, you may be wondering what are some other methodologies you can explore that will creatively communicate with our residents.

The following information contains some ideas on how you can continue to communicate and show your loved one you are there in spirit and still care.

  • Send snail mail

Handwritten cards and letters are more special than ever, perhaps because electronic communication is increasingly supplanting them. Recipients can display the cards and re-read correspondence to remind themselves that you care.

  • Share a virtual meal

Plan a long-distance date. Order what your loved one likes and pay for it via a meal delivery service and make sure the meal gets there at the appropriate time. Then call to talk during the meal, making sure your loved one knows how to use the speakerphone feature on his/her cellphone or landline phone.

  • Use other delivery services

You know the snacks your loved one likes. Since you can’t bring a few packages of treats during an apartment visit, arrange for a bulk delivery. For those in independent or assisted living who still like to cook, you can get grocery lists and do the shopping for them or use a shopping service. When dropping off your items, be sure to label the boxes or bags in a prominent location and include the resident’s name and room number.

  • Create your own Facebook book club

If your kids are at an age where they love being read to, make sure Grandma or Grandpa has some kids’ books they can read aloud. If they don’t, order some online, using the video-calling feature on their digital device. Among the most popular video calling apps are Apple’s Facetime. Please note, this app only works with iPhones, iPads, and Macintosh computers. Other options include: Skype, Amazon Alexa, Facebook Messenger, Google Duo, and IMO. Viber and WhatsApp also work on Google Android, Microsoft Windows and other devices.

Be sure to coordinate so that everyone is on the same platform. This way, grandkids of different siblings can be on the same story time call.

Older kids can make the call more like adults’ book clubs. Both the grandparent and grandchild can read a couple of chapters of the same book and talk about their impressions or what they learned.

Watching the same TV shows together, such as a documentary on Netflix or Amazon Prime, can also spark discussions that spans generations.

And if reading a book or watching a documentary isn’t an option, perhaps because of your loved one’s memory loss, help the kids in a sing-along. Singing old, familiar songs, “Happy Birthday,” or classic hymns of they’re religious, can bring back memories and is a skill that often remains even if speech is difficult.

  • Order a jigsaw puzzle of your family

Mail order companies specialize in custom puzzles from photographs or perhaps your child’s artwork. If your loved one is a puzzle lover, you can have a puzzle delivered that contains 2,000 or more pieces. But also available are those with as few as 15 pieces, which might work well for people with dementia or less dexterity. While you’re at it, order a coffee mug with a favorite family photo on it.

  • Play a board game

Think about the games your family loved growing up, such as Clue, Monopoly, Life, Scrabble, or Sorry, or if you have young kids, children’s classics such as Candyland or Chutes & Ladders. Familiarity with the rules is important.

Backgammon, bingo, and chess also will work if you’ve played those in the past and both sides know the lingo of the game. Make sure identical game boards are set up at your house and your loved one’s home You and your family then can play the game over the telephone, talking about how the dice landed and what moves your game piece is making. A cellphone set on speaker will work well for this because games sometimes take hours. A video call also will add dimension but isn’t necessary if everyone commits to narrating their actions.

  • Assemble a hobby box

Since The Classic has suspended many of the group activities, your loved ones have a lot more free time on their hands.

This is the time to find a nice box at a craft store, perhaps decorate it and fill it with items that your loved one can come back to again and again. Put in items that will work with their existing hobbies or ask what they’ve always wanted to try. Think crossword puzzle books for those who like a brain challenge, paints, and suitable paper for those who have been artistic in the craft room, squishy balls and miniature Slinkys for other toys for those with a silly streak, yarn and hooks for crocheters.