Video chat is great, but you’ll really surprise grandma with a letter or picture.
Lots of older people are feeling lonely right now, even those who moved to senior living communities expecting to socialize with people every day. Many senior living facilities and most U.S. nursing homes are enforcing some of the most restrictive quarantine measures in the country. Dining halls are closed, libraries and community centers are locked, and visits from friends and family are banned. Even healthy residents are urged not to leave their room or apartment.
While social distancing is surely necessary, it means many people are feeling lonely. Communication is extremely important for mental and physical health, so it’s important to keep in touch with grandparents and other family members while staying physically apart. Now is a great time to explore new – and some really old – ways to show love and attention when you can’t give a hug.
Kaya Harris, a 16 year old from Virginia, shares these 6 ideas about what kids of all ages can do to show relatives they care:
- Send artwork or crafts. Are you creative? Maybe you, your kids or your younger siblings need a 30-minute activity. Work on a project that you can mail to grandma. Send paintings, crafts or drawings. An art or craft project will keep kids at home entertained and deliver a bright surprise to an empty mailbox.
- Mail cards and letters. When was the last time you wrote a letter? A real letter. On paper. Cards or letters from you can be especially comforting to older loved ones. Grandpa still likes finding stuff in his mailbox. And this is not junk mail. It’s from you! Need an idea about what to write? Share a story. Tell them about your favorite vacation. Describe how you attend school online.
- Share photos. Sharing photos through text, email or mail is a great way to stay in contact with relatives. Digital messaging probably comes more natural to you and it gives grandparents an instant inside look to what’s happening in your day to day life.
- Give them a call. Calling at least once a week will give you both a chance to catch up and share updates with each other. Plan three question to ask during your conversation.
- Talk through video chat. Zoom, Skype, Facebook Messenger or FaceTime are all examples of easy to use technologies that allow you to see and hear each other in a way that almost makes it feel as if you’re together.
- Play multi-player games through apps. If your grandparent is comfortable using a smartphone, you can each download games such as Words with Friends, UNO or Stop. These game apps allow you to play at any level with anyone, no matter how far away they live. It’s a great way to stay connected and engaged when you run out of things to talk about.
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Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor