I’m hearing from many clients that you can’t visit your loved one who lives in nursing home, retirement residence, or other care centre. This can be hard for both individuals. You may be feeling anxious, lost, or overwhelmed – and I am here to tell you that is okay. You aren’t alone.
These residences have very strict protocol in place – to keep your loved one safe. They are safest staying there vs living in the general community during this covid crisis.
Coping Strategies When You Can’t Visit a Loved OneIf you are trying to manage with limited or no visits, here are some strategies to help you during this time:
1. Connect often by phone, video call, or other means. You can read to each other, tell each other jokes, work on solving cross word puzzles together and much more. You’ll have to get creative in conversations as talking about the weather will be hard after a couple calls.
2. If your loved one needs help with technology – see if an employee at their residence can schedule a time for you to video call in so you can see your loved one.
3. Deliver a care package – many residences will allow you to drop off a care package to help hold off boredom. A coloring book and pencil crayons, their favorite snacks, maybe a stuffed animal if appropriate, and even photos or a book you can talk about. Did they cruise hawaii, give them a photo book of Hawaii to talk about. Maybe now is the time to give a gift of an ipad or Alexa Echo with video capabilities if staff or other residents can help them learn to use it.
4. As much as contact with family is important, contact with friends is equally – if not more, important. Help a neighbor, friend, church member do a video call or phone call to your loved one. Variety is the spice of life, especially when our contact with the outside world might be limited.
5. Nothing beats receiving a card in the mail. Fill it with glitter for an unexpected surprise. Write a letter about all the changes in your world. Share photos or poems or even funny memes they may not see on social media. Send a card a day with a new joke…your loved one will appreciate the efforts.
6. If your loved one doesn’t live on a main floor, see if you can visit at the front door vestibule using phones or at a common main floor window
I know it’s hard, but this is about keeping your loved one safe. This is hard on everyone, but by keeping these strict policies, the hope is that soon you will be able to visit again. So keep connected, and soon this will pass.
Share with me – how else are you being creative in keeping contact with your loved one when visitors are restricted to their residence.