Of the many challenges that the Coronavirus pandemic has brought us, one of the more heartbreaking ones is the fact that it has physically separated many of us from our loved ones. In particular, older people are being isolated from their families in an effort to keep them as safe as possible from a virus that is more dangerous to older populations. It’s for everybody’s good, but that doesn’t make it any easier. If you’re finding yourself wishing you knew how to take care of your relatives despite the distance, here are a few things you can try.
One thing to be grateful for during this difficult time is the fact that we have access to so much technology that facilitates communication even when we’re physically separated. Between text messaging, phone calls, and video calls, you can still be in touch with your older family members on a daily basis even if you can’t see them in person.
So make sure that your relatives have access to the technology that they need and know how to use it, and then take the time to give them a video call on a regular basis. You can show them your home, your family, your pets, and keep them up to date with what’s new in your life so they can feel that they are connected and not missing out on anything.
In addition to staying in contact via technology, you can also help your older family members use technology to keep themselves entertained and active. During the pandemic, many people are taking advantage of online courses, webinars, and discussion groups to maintain a social life and keep their minds active and enriched from home. There’s no reason why your aging relatives can’t do the same.
Do some searching to find resources like these that may interest your family members and help them get started with registering and participating. Even a simple online meditation or home exercise course can make a big difference in their quality of life.
While young and healthy people are generally OK to leave their homes to go grocery shopping with a mask on, this same outing is much more dangerous for older adults, making it significantly harder to get the food, medication, and supplies they need. One of the biggest ways you can help out is by taking this on for them.
If you live close enough, you can go on a grocery shopping trip and drop the bags off at their door. Otherwise, consider using apps like Instacart and Postmates to get groceries and food delivered by somebody local. Amazon can also deliver groceries and other essentials as well. Beyond that, it can be a really sweet gesture to order flowers or books or a puzzle – something you know they’d like – to your relatives’ home to show you’re thinking of them.
Staying in touch can offer your family members resources, warm words of encouragement, and love during a time when they need it more than ever.