Advice Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care

20 Ways to Keep in Touch with Loved Ones While Practicing Social Distancing

A young woman chats with her grandmother on a video call on a laptop

During this crisis, staying connected is a vital part of staying healthy — physically, emotionally and mentally. Despite the challenges of social distancing, there are plenty of ways to connect with senior loved ones. With today’s intuitive technology, it’s easier than ever for anyone to have a long-distance personal connection. Here, we’ll examine the best ways to keep in touch both on and off the web.

Digital Connection

The next best thing to sharing time in person is spending time over the internet. Not only are there many trustworthy video chat apps available for anyone to use for free, but there are all manner of interactive games and activities to play with your loved ones. The most popular and accessible video chat apps you can use with your smartphone, tablet or computer right now are:

  1. Skype has been a popular and trusted video chat app for over a decade. It features group calls of up to 50 people, live subtitles and more wonderful features.
  2. Facebook, the largest social media platform in the world, has a live video and chat app called Facebook Messenger. It’s just like communicating through Facebook text chat with video, emoji and many other capabilities.
  3. Zoom is one of the newer video chat apps that has become massively popular during COVID-19. It features a number of features, including a range of virtual game plug-ins.
  4. FaceTime is the built-in video chat app on every iPhone, iPad or Mac computer. If you own one of these devices, you can use the app without installing any extra apps right from your phone’s home screen.

The beautiful thing about connecting digitally is that there is practically an endless variety of things you can do with your loved ones over the internet. There’s more than plenty of fun things to do at home with these engaging virtual ideas:

  1. Play virtual games like Words with Friends, Monopoly, Uno, and Scattegories with family online or with mobile apps.
  2. Take an online course along with your friends and family. There are many easy-to-use, free online classes from websites like Udemy, Coursera, and more in-depth learning classes from companies like Masterclass. Since it’s all virtual, you can easily learn along with your loved ones.
  3. Play video chat games directly on apps like Zoom. Some of the most popular are Jackbox, Houseparty, and Bunch.

8.  Start a virtual book club with Goodreads. There’s even an app that allows you to organize and communicate with your fellow bookworms.

So many people are connecting via social media that it’s hard to ignore — especially when communicating with kids and younger family members.

  1. Instagram is a photo-centric platform allowing you to share your favorite pictures and memories with your friends and family. Like Facebook, you can follow others, comment on their images, and send direct messages to easily keep in touch from long distance.
  2. Facebook remains the most used social media platform in the world. Odds are, you or your loved ones are already on Facebook, but it’s good to be reminded how powerful it can be to stay connected while you’re social distancing at home.

Traditional, Nondigital Connection

We live in a tech-driven world, but it’s important not to forget the value of traditional long-distance communication. These nondigital things to do at home hold up to even the most engaging apps:

  1. Start letter writing with long-distance loved ones. Today, hand-written letters just seem more meaningful.
  2. Share story writing club through a pen pal tree or email chain. Each person writes one paragraph at a time, and you have to improvise and build on the previous person’s paragraph.
  3. Make a photo book of your most cherished captured memories while you have time at home, and then share it with your loved ones.
  4. Gather family recipes into a personal family cookbook. Ask loved ones to write out recipes and instructions you can pass down through generations.
  5. Kids home from school? Have them create arts and crafts you can send to loved ones who are sheltering at home.
  6. Read a book together and talk about it. Share your thoughts and feelings in your own family book club!
  7. Start group gardening. Send loved ones a quick-growing plant and container and keep one for yourself. Share photos via email of how the plant is doing every day.
  8. Learn a foreign language together and practice writing or talking with each other.
  9. Make a great care package for your loved ones of their favorite things. Brainstorm some long-distance gift ideas and don’t forget things that they may not be able to go out and get right now.
  10. Call your loved ones regularly. Face to face or not, it’s more important than ever to check in on your loved ones, especially older adults, while they’re self-isolating to stay safe.

At Meadow Ridge, we’re doing everything in our power to keep your loved ones safe, secure, connected and engaged throughout this pandemic. To learn how, or to learn more about our stunning community, fill out the form below or call us anytime at 203-544-1000.

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