Caring through COVID-19: 7 ways to connect with older loved ones

Please note: This article has been updated with new information on best practices related to COVID-19.

Staying away from an elderly loved one may actually be the best way to show them that you care right now.

We know that it will take a collective effort to minimize the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).  There is an increased risk to older adults, particularly those with severe chronic illnesses.  This is why Seasons Retirement Communities is following the lead of Public Health by using heightened precautionary protocols including health screening for everyone who enters our residences. 

If we all work together to reduce the risk of infection, families can rest assured that the teams at Seasons communities are working diligently to keep residents healthy, engaged, connected and having fun!  

We know this can be hard for families and friends who just want to check-in and make sure their loved one is alright.   Here are 7 suggestions for connecting with older loved ones, that don’t involve in-person visits:

  1. Pick up the phone.  Hearing your voice means a lot and can give both of you peace of mind that all is well.  Regular calls can also help identify any changes in their health and well-being.
  2. Technology is our friend.  Skype or FaceTime your loved one to stay connected.  Emailing a “thought of the day” is also an easy way to touch base regularly.  A member of the Seasons team would be happy to set up a resident on any of these platforms if they aren’t already. 
  3. Mail them a letter.  Who doesn’t enjoy getting a surprise in the mail?  You can send a handwritten note or thoughtful card or you can sign them up for a subscription to the local newspaper or their favourite magazine.
  4. Special Delivery!  Flowers can brighten someone’s day and be a beautiful reminder that you’re thinking of them. 
  5. Create a care package.  You can include a CD of songs they love, a photo album of old photos and shared memories, a game, book they might enjoy or a new puzzle to pass the time.  The possibilities are endless! 
  6. Treats are welcome.  If you have a favourite recipe you love you bake you can drop off some homemade goodies.  Not a baker?  Leave it to the professionals and have them deliver a delicious local treat!
  7. A shared project.  This could be a great opportunity to ask your loved one to write out an old family recipe you’ve always wanted.  They could begin to journal about your family history or help you research ideas for redecorating your home or planning a future party. 

When making deliveries to the home, it is recommended that all deliveries be left outside for pickup. If you are worried about leaving items unattended, call ahead to let someone know when you will be dropping off a package. In addition, as an extra precaution, it can be wise to remove external packaging promptly and ensure it is disposed of correctly. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer rub, then handle what’s included in your delivery.

IMPORTANT: If you or someone in your household has been exposed to the COVID-19 virus and/or you or someone in your household has returned from international travel in the last 14 days, we do not recommend dropping off items from your home to elderly loved ones at this time.

For up to date information on COVID-19 in Canada, visit Health Canada or Infection Prevention and Control Canada.