With families busy with their own lives and in many cases spread across the country, how can everyone stay connected with their parents or other senior family members in a meaningful way?
In Person Visits are always the best option to truly connect with another person. At a personal meeting you can ask direct questions and see how well they are answered. You can also see how their personal space is being managed and kept up. It’s also easier to see if they are maintaining their weight or losing or gaining unexpectedly.
Letters and photos. If you aren’t able to connect in person, letters are a physical way for the seniors in your lives to feel connected to you. And as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so send pictures too. This is old school but to many older adults, getting a letter they can read and reread is a treasure. And someday, you may appreciate that your loved one kept your letters.
Written journals are an effective way to keep track of services, activities, nutrition and medication management. Either the senior can keep the journal or anyone can write in it as a visitor. You can ask anyone that comes to visit to share what they talked about or what made the visit meaningful. Visitors could comment on how the senior was doing that day so you have other eyes on your loved one for historical purposes.
Electronic methods. Smart devices such as Alexa are making it even easier than using an computer or Ipad which we used just a few years ago. Many seniors are very excited by these options especially to see grandchildren they can’t see any other way. Today you can buy a mobile robot for your loved one to engage in visual conversation for about $2,000. If staying at home is important this is one way to stay very connected from across the country or around the world.