With bans on visitor access and physical contact, families of nursing home residents are trying to stay connected to their loved ones. Despite an easing of restrictions, nursing homes are likely to continue prohibiting or limiting outside visitors until the last phase of the reopening guidelines. But the lack of contact can leave families worried and create feelings of anxiety and isolation for the residents, especially those who don’t understand why their family is no longer paying them a visit. While in-person visits are not possible, families have options for keeping in touch and brightening a loved one’s day.
Developing a Regular Contact Schedule
Family members should make a schedule that allows each one of them to call their loved one on a specific day. Families should set up a schedule for when to contact their loved ones to help them feel more connected and secure during an uncertain time. Keeping a schedule also gives residents something to look forward to.
Communicating Through Video Calls
Many nursing homes are facilitating video calls using platforms such as FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom. These allow loved ones to see each other and talk as if they were physically together. Family members can read poetry, sing songs, or engage in an activity that keeps the conversation going.
Making Window Visits
Many nursing home facilities schedule a time for families to “meet” their loved ones through a window on the ground floor. Individuals can use that for in-person visits if they’re able to. They can talk on the phone, share smiles, laughs, kisses, and touch through the glass.
Sending a Care Package
Dropping off a bag of comfort items, favorite snacks, basic supplies, trinkets, and other fun items can give seniors comfort, boost their mood, and reduce anxiety or stress. Family members should check with the management first to find out if some items are not allowed for health reasons.
Sending Cheerful Cards, Letters, and Photos
Mail can keep a loved one from feeling isolated and disconnected. Handwritten cards and letters remain a timeless way to bring a smile and let someone know they’re loved. Family members can write a quick update about their activities and how they’re coping during this health crisis. The familiar handwritings will create a genuine connection and assure loved ones everyone’s okay. Also, sending residents family photos and asking the facility to send pictures of their residents can help maintain emotional closeness.