It’s hard when loved ones are quarantined in nursing homes or other care facilities, especially when they have dementia. You can help them overcome isolation by creating safe ways to stay connected. Caregivers share these tips.
- Talk to the staff. Learn what policies and procedures they’re following to safeguard clients during this health crisis. Above all, be supportive, ask about their challenges and how you can help.
- Hop on the phone. Our elders grew up in the telephone era. For loved ones who are comfortable and able to take a phone call, remember to pace the conversation, focus on the present moment, and pause to let them respond.
- Share screen time. Even if staff needs to help your loved one make the connection, schedule a video chat. Google Duo, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Zoom and other tools make it easier than ever.
- Bring on the music. Spotify and Pandora make it easy to create a playlist of familiar songs that can soothe the soul. If they don’t use a smart phone, download songs to an Apple iPod.
- Give the magic of movies. Choose from classic movies or popular TV series you can share via Amazon Prime (Household), streaming services like Netflix, or DVDs. If your loved one needs some gear, consider a portable DVD player and headphones at BestBuy.
- Create a family album. Send your loved one a digital photo frame loaded with family photos. Ask the kids (and grandkids) to help pick out their favorite photos. It’s a great way for family to honor their elders. Browse the selection on Amazon.
- Try puzzles and games. If your loved one enjoys a good puzzle or a game of Bingo, there’s an endless variety from physical options to online apps. Check out Jigsaw Explorer, Appcrawlr or other sites to choose puzzle images and degree of difficulty based on what your loved one is drawn to and what gives them a sense of satisfaction and confidence.
- Read aloud. When you can’t be there in person, try reading aloud during a phone or video call. You (or a staff caregiver) can read aloud, from poetry, fiction or nonfiction books, magazines or newspapers. Learn how the Alz Poetry Project helps people with dementia create and enjoy poetry. Find out what resonates with your loved one.
Here’s to staying connected with the ones we love!