Social distancing is critical in preventing the spread of COVID-19, but higher-risk populations, including the elderly, are more prone to the negative effects of extended periods of isolation as they exercise extra precaution. Loneliness, depression and even some physical symptoms are tied to long durations of isolation. On top of these effects, the constant worry and feelings of uncertainty are enough to make a positive mindset difficult to maintain. As social creatures, we humans rely on networks to keep busy and happy, so it’s more important than ever to stay connected with your loved ones to keep their morale high. Here are some tips on how to keep your loved one feeling connected and cared for during this challenging time.
Set up Virtual Social Hours
Once your loved one has a solid grasp on how to operate platforms like Facetime, Skype, or Zoom, try setting up weekly video calls to connect. Staying consistent with a regular schedule will give them — and you — something to look forward to every week. While the schedule can be regular, you can get creative with what you do during video calls. Here are a few ideas you can try:
- Cook a recipe together
- Order meals from the same restaurant to try together
- Play a game
Attend Online Church Services
Senior citizens who are members of religious groups are most likely feeling the disconnection of being unable to attend services. This is a huge loss for those who rely on the deep connection with fellow service-goers and the spiritual leadership provided every week. Help your loved one by doing a little research into their respective church’s updated services, as many have moved into online platforms. If the place of worship is now offering online services, guide your loved one through the steps needed to log in and participate with their community. Seeing familiar faces of their community and being able to continue fostering spiritual growth will go a long way in boosting morale. To make it an even more valuable experience for your loved one, consider “attending” the service along with them! The extra bit of social connectivity might help to boost your mood as well.
Drop Off Goodies
A surprise package in the mail is always a reliable mood booster. Take time to curate a fun care package full of products and treats your family member loves. The thoughtfulness and personal touch will surely brighten their spirits, and you can have some fun getting creative with their gift! Here are some ideas on items you can deliver to their home:
- Books or magazines
- Puzzles or games
- Personalized care packages
- Scrapbook or framed picture of a fond memory
Send Snail Mail
Another trusted morale booster is the simple practice of mailing letters. Meaningful handwritten cards are a much more personal touch than an email or text, and your loved one will appreciate the time you took to write and send them a message. You can even start the habit of exchanging letters with each other, giving life updates, sharing memories and stories and more. If your loved one is able to, they will also benefit from the mindfulness and reflection that comes with writing letters. Try getting crafty for extra-special messages! Add a photo, painting or drawing to mail along with a message. You’ll get a morale boost from extra creativity and your loved one will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
For more ideas on how to stay connected with family and friends during the pandemic, see our guide on staying social.
Don’t Forget About You!
Keeping your loved one’s spirits high is important right now. But it’s also important to take care of yourself so you’re mentally and emotionally equipped to support others in your life. The stress of keeping up with the news and worrying about your friends and family is enough to drain you to the point where you don’t have the energy to keep up with your loved ones. Some ways to relieve stress and maintain good mental health include:
- Take breaks from social media and news
- Get outside every day and exercise
- Meditate or practice deep-breathing exercises
- Be diligent about getting enough sleep and sticking to a consistent schedule
How We’re Helping
Cherrywood Pointe is here to help your family, friends and community stay healthy and safe. If there is anything we can do, or if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
If you or someone you know is struggling to adjust during this time or is feeling a sense of loneliness or depression, it’s important to talk about what’s going on. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s hotline 1-800-662-HELP (4357) puts you in touch with counseling services and other local resources.