As we age, staying connected with our loved ones becomes more and more important. Unfortunately, busy lives, distance, our own health, and a variety of other factors can often prevent families from being able to spend as much time together as they would like. Knowing that it is important to have ways to stay in touch with one another, we’ve come up with some simple ways that you can connect and let your loved one know that you are thinking about them.
- Family meetings – If the distance is not a factor, a regular family get together is a great way to check-in and spend time together. Many assisted living apartments to have areas for activities like board games, or recreational areas where you can play, or even swim. A fun family gathering can be a great way of staying connected and staying positive, which also can have lasting positive impacts on the health of our loved ones.
- Photo sharing apps – If you are unable to visit regularly, or if your loved one is unable to attend special events due to health limitations, then photo-sharing apps are a great way to help them to stay connected and feel involved. Apps like Flikr, Google photos, or even Facebook are great tools for keeping loved ones up to date on all the things happening in our lives.
- Technology – If your loved one is brave enough to tackle the world of technology, then e-mailing, blogging, or even video chats are a great way to stay connected. Video chats enable real-time communication and are a great way of keeping connected when distance is a factor. If possible, group chats and video calls between multiple family members at multiple locations are almost as good at keeping families connected as a large family gathering, but much easier to schedule, require little planning or cleaning afterward, and are often the only financially viable way of keeping whole families connected. E-mailing can be convenient as well, as it enables you to recap and connect in your own time, then trying to connect during a special event, or trying to find a time that works for both of your schedules.
- Calendar sharing – One way of helping a loved one to feel connected is to share your calendar with them. That way, they will not only know when something important or special is happening but also they will get to see the day to day stuff, which sometimes goes even farther to making someone feel connected. Knowing what their calendar is like can help you to be able to feel connected to their lives. It will help you to know what to talk about with your loved one. You can ask them how they enjoyed certain events, or know what they are looking forward to. Remember that although the little things you are doing may seem trivial to you, knowing about them can make a loved one feel much more connected when they can’t be there themselves.
- Write a letter – Something to keep in mind is that not all seniors are comfortable with technology. Sometimes, even for those that do enjoy technology, a simple handwritten letter can make a loved one’s day. There is something special about receiving a letter in the mail. It shows that you took the extra time to show them they are loved and cared about.
Living apart from your family can be difficult, especially if you are in a long term care facility. Even if your loved one is in an assisted living apartment where there are plenty of activities and fun things to do, it is still essential for families to be able to stay connected with each other. Keeping in touch is important for reducing depression and loneliness. It is important to make the most of your time with them. However, you can stay connected, your loved one will appreciate your thoughtfulness and love. It may not always be easy, but it will always be worth it.