In today’s times when the health and safety of our seniors is of the utmost importance, we must ensure that we stay connected to them in some form or the other so that they don’t get lonely or depressed.
Keeping them at home so that they do not contract the coronavirus goes without saying. However, while they may be protected physically, many seniors are starting to develop mental health issues due to isolation.
Thanks to technology, it doesn’t have to be this way, at least not completely. There are several ways you can stay connected to your loved ones through technology. Not only will it make them feel better, but it will be good for you as well.
From basic things like calling and emailing them to newer options, such as online games, you can take your pick. Here are 8 of the best ways to stay connected with your homebound seniors through technology.
Talk On the Phone
Even though this may sound simple, it’s probably the most effective. The good old-fashioned phone call may be what many seniors are most comfortable with. Make an effort to call your senior loved ones to check up on them.
You can schedule the call at a time when you think they will be free so that it is not inconvenient to them. For seniors who are not yet comfortable with other forms of technology, this is the perfect way.
The modern-day letters; your senior could enjoy these more than you think. An email requires barely any effort on your part so write to them frequently. Treat it as a letter, tell them details about your day and you can even attach images and videos to further entertain them.
Email is accessible and they can use it at their convenience. For example, they can read your email while having lunch so they feel like you’re with them. Furthermore, if a senior has problems with typing to reply to you, they can use features such as “speech to text” to ease the process. Similarly, if they have challenges in reading email, there are certain features they can install to read out the email for them.
If your senior is open to learning new technology, get them to join Facebook or Instagram. This will help them stay in touch with their friends and family and feel connected. They can look at photos and posts posted by their loved ones, which will help them keep busy as well.
You can keep in touch with them through these platforms by commenting on their posts, as well as sending them private messages. Another reason why social media is a good option is that they can find many of their long lost childhood friends on these platforms. In addition to that, they can even make new friends who have similar interests to them by joining groups, such as a cooking group, a gardening one and so on.
One step further from normal calling, video calling enables your loved one to see you and you to see them. It can’t replace meeting them in person but it comes quite close, especially during these testing times.
Surprise a loved one by video calling them when you’re thinking about them. Seeing your face will brighten up their day. Once they get the hang of it, you can video call them while they’re eating, etc., so that it’s like you’re with them and they have some company. You can use Facetime, Skype, Whatsapp video chat, etc.
If you find that the calls and texts are getting mundane, connect with your senior loved one through online gaming. No, online games are not just for young people, but they can very much be used by older adults too.
There are a bunch of games available online that you can play with them. Not only will these provide them with some sort of social interaction and keep them entertained while they are homebound, but it will also challenge their minds and keep them active.
If you can’t visit a senior loved one in person, the next best thing you can do is schedule a virtual visit. Choose a time when the whole family is free and get together on Zoom or any other app, such as Google Hangouts.
Make an extra effort of looking good for these sessions and treat them like an actual visit and plan something fun for each one. Maybe have a theme that everyone follows or a tea party where everyone has their cups of tea with snacks.
Do something different and have a virtual movie night with them. This will give them something to look forward to and they will feel like you’re watching it with them. There are a variety of options where you can watch, for example, Netflix Party that allows you to watch shows/movies with people and chat at the same time.
Pick something they would like and give them virtual company while they watch it. You would be surprised how much it could mean to them.
Get your homebound senior to go live on Facebook or Instagram. This way, they will be surrounded by their loved ones. Help them figure out how to use the live session and then join them in these sessions. It will make them feel important and heard while helping you stay connected to them.
Each of these eight ways is effective and will help brighten up your senior loved one’s day. They are simple and don’t require much effort. Use them to your advantage and help your loved one feel connected and happy.