4 Ways to Have Quality Conversations During COVID-19

August 25, 2020

Communication is one of the cornerstones for the care of the elderly, especially for a loved one who may not fully understand what’s happening in our world at the moment. With additional restrictions on in-person visits, finding ways to connect and converse regularly with older folks is more critical now than ever. Fortunately, technology is making this easier. But technology isn’t limited to simply calling and hearing a familiar voice, and it’s not the only way to stay in touch.

Here are some ways you can have quality connections as a family while being away from loved ones during COVID-19.

1. Host a group conversation through video chat

A phone call from a family member is great. A video call from the whole family? Even better. Services like Zoom and Google Hangout have made it easy to “get together.” These and similar platforms also make it easy for multiple people to share time together.  Staff can help residents get set up with computers and tablets, and scheduling reminders is easy through shared calendars and alerts.

2. Make hands-free communication easy for the elderly with Facebook Portal and Amazon Echo Show

There’s nothing more frustrating to older folks than technology that is hard to work. Take all the hassle out with great products like Facebook Portal and Amazon Echo Show. You can help them set reminders and get video calls from friends and family. Voice commands are simple and will help residents look forward to and enjoy the conversations.

3. Let them experience a tour or journey

While there’s no substitute for “actually being there,” they can still see the world through your eyes. Facetime while on a hike to give a glimpse of the views. Strap a GoPro to the grandkids’ bike for a virtual ride along. Record family gatherings, create trip slideshows, or even recorded personal messages celebrating milestones will help your loved ones feel included in special events and occasions. If you’re really tech savvy, adding in recorded commentary allows more family members to help tell about the experience.

4. Snail mail, personal notes, and artwork

Getting mail is still a thrilling and personal experience, no matter what your age. Cards, letters, and personal notes are always appreciated. Let their friends know how to get in touch with your loved ones and how much a note would make their day. Want to get younger children involved? Have your kids draw pictures or create a painting of what they’ve done recently or what they’re looking forward to doing with their grandparent when you can be together again.

These uncertain times make in-person visits hard or impossible, but finding alternative ways to communicate makes staying close to loved ones a little more bearable. Check with facility workers on additional ways they are helping residents stay in contact with families. Reaching out regularly can boost their spirits and help them stay connected to family and friends.