Our country and the World have been dealing with a crisis like I have never seen in my 61 years over the past 5+ months, and yet each day I am still finding it hard to believe. I keep hoping and praying that I am going to wake up to find that everything is back to “normal” and that this COVID-19 pandemic has all been a crazy nightmare! But I know in my heart that this is not going to happen and that we all are going to have to pull together to turn things around again. We as Americans have done it before, and I pray we will have the courage, wisdom and strength to do it again!
I talk to a lot of people every week who have loved ones in nursing homes because I work with adult children. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be living in a nursing home right now at this point in history, to not be able to see my family at a time when I need them the most, and to only be seeing bad news on the television each and every day. Quite a few of our senior clients living in nursing homes have passed away over the last few months and I have no doubt that it is because of fear and loneliness. No one should be made to feel like they are intentionally being isolated from their loved ones and the world at a time like this!
So, because it looks like we may be in this situation for a few more months and the nursing homes will more than likely be keeping their COVID-19 policies in place, at a time like this we need to be thoughtful and creative about how we can help our loved ones and friends in the nursing home to feel our love, know they are valued and be less afraid.
Here are a few suggestions and I hope that this gets everyone thinking!
- Call your loved one/fried on a regular basis and tell them that things are going to get back to normal and that you love them!
- Go to the nursing home with a chair and your phone and something to “show and tell”. If you want to bring something like a picture drawn by a younger relative or something fun and positive that would be great. Sit outside the window, call your loved one and/or friend and spend some time talking! Bring other relatives/friends along after you get a system down.
- Don’t forget about mail. During this crisis we have a lot to be thankful for because the people who work for the United States Postal Service have continued to work. Thank you all so very much! Think about mailing something – a letter or a card or something special to your loved one/friend each week on the same day so that they will have something to look forward to. This can make a huge difference in how they are seeing the world where they are.
- If your loved one/friend has a cell phone send them texts and pictures on a regular basis.
I hope this gets your creative juices flowing! I think that the most important thing we can do at a time like this is to be consistent and establish a pattern that our loved ones/friends can count on each week. We need to communicate with them on a regular basis so that they feel they are loved and appreciated and not all alone, and hopefully this will do wonders toward helping all of us through this terribly challenging and scary time.