How to Stay Connected to Family Members When You Can’t Visit
Posted on: May 07, 2020
Contributor: David Troxel, M.P.H.
With the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak, Christian Horizons communities are closed to all but the most essential visitors. While this move helps residents stay healthy, we know it can also lead to social isolation and depression.
The lack of visiting or connection can add stress and worry for both resident and caregiver used to spending time with his or her family member. Here are some ideas for staying connected in this time of “social distancing.”
- Work with associates in the building to set up opportunities to connect with your family member. Christian Horizons communities are using video chat apps like FaceTime and Google Duo to help you stay in touch with your loved one. To connect, contact the community with your phone number. With so much tech at our fingertips, there are endless ways to stay connected.
- Consider preparing your family member’s favorite meal or dessert and dropping it off at the community. If your mother loves your home-made chicken soup, a special oatmeal cookie, or a cheeseburger from McDonald’s (drive through these days), drop it by with a note. Associates can take the item at the front door and let your family member know that it’s a special treat from you!
- Give the gift of music. If your family member doesn’t have access to music in his or her room, consider finding an inexpensive “boom-box” or music player with CDs or a device that will play music from the Internet (consider a “smart speaker” like Amazon Echo or Google Home). Music is particularly therapeutic for people with dementia. Be sure to pick your family member’s favorite music be it Christian music and hymns or country western!
- Write a short life-story of your family member to share with associates - a one-pager highlighting the his/her values, faith traditions, achievements, likes and dislikes, work history, and family can inspire comforting words and more effective communication.
- Stay positive. Create a feeling that all is well. If your family member is aware of the pandemic, do your best to offer some reassuring words, “we will get through this together,” or “I can’t wait to get together when we are through all this and go out for our favorite bakery!”
Despite all the current challenges, we are doing our best to keep residents healthy while encouraging as much activity as possible. There are lots you can do from 6 feet apart!
Dementia Care Consultant to Christian Horizons, David Troxel, M.P.H., serves as an expert resource to our ministry’s leadership, associates and family members. He is available for memory care questions, advice and needs at no charge. Especially during this time of restricted visitation, reach out to David if you have memory care related questions at (916) 600-8075 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Troxel, M.P.H., has become nationally and internationally known for his work as a writer, teacher and expert on caregiving. He is the co-author of six influential books, most notably The Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care (with Virginia Bell).