Staying connected to friends and family outside of assisted living is very important for the mental health of seniors. Today that means using the internet, but with one-third of Americans over the age of 65 not confident in using the internet, communication can be a struggle for many families. Here are some tips on keeping in touch and making friends in assisted living, from our community in Cape May County.
- Teach your seniors – The internet is a fantastic communication tool for seniors, so it’s worth it for younger family members to teach senior loved ones how to use it. Try to teach them one tool at a time, starting with very simple apps and platforms that they can easily utilize. For example, if they already use Facebook, teach them how to send texts and make calls through Facebook messenger. If they are confident with texting, teach them how to use WhatsApp.
- Play together – Start family gaming groups based on your loved one’s interests and get everyone involved. We have a race to share our Wordle each morning, but it can be much more than just that! There are so many different apps and games that you can play together from wherever you are, so keep trying till you find one you love. Some good ideas include Minecraft, Words with Friends, Mario Kart, Family Feud, and Ticket to Ride. Playing games is also great for making friends in assisted living, especially for seniors with mobility issues.
- Schedule family calls – Microsoft Teams, Skype, and Zoom aren’t just for work video conferences – they’re great for family catchups too! You can have a set time each week where you all get together on a video chat with your loved one in assisted living. Video calls are especially useful for family and friends who are out of town or living overseas. You can easily schedule them through your email, and an assisted living staff member or nearby family member can help set this up on their computer.
- Have face-to-face time – Today’s seniors do value the internet, but there’s no substitute for one-on-one time with the people they love! Try to see them in person on a regular basis. Whether it’s popping in for a cup of coffee, bringing them groceries and having a quick lunch together, or scheduling a family dinner once a week, every moment is precious.
- Create a family project – There is something special in every family, so why not create a project around it and get your senior loved one involved? This might be collecting family recipes and turning them into a family cookbook, exploring your genealogy and family history, or learning a skill from them. It can be helpful to have an activity to do while spending quality time together. It’s a wonderful way to show them that they have exceptional value to pass on to younger generations, and it also gives people a sense of purpose and something to look forward to doing together.
A warm and welcoming assisted living community in Cape May County
At UMC at The Shores, an assisted living community in South Jersey, we know how important healthy social connections are to the quality of life. In addition to supporting you in staying in touch with your loved one in-person and through technology, we also have a lively social calendar, a wide range of clubs, and outings throughout the year. To find out more about making friends in assisted living or assisted living in South Jersey, contact us today or visit our website at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/
Original blog posted on https://theshores.umcommunities.org/the-shores/senior-communities-and-family-stay-connected/