Remaining connected to a loved one in a skilled nursing center or nursing home can be difficult. You may be limited in your ability to visit a loved one due to the center’s policies, or perhaps you live far away or work odd hours, making in-person support difficult. Illness or injury, the needs of other family members, and other responsibilities can quickly eat up your time.
Here are some ways you can continue to support a loved one in a skilled nursing home - intentionally and virtually.
Get Comfortable with Virtual Technology
Speak with someone at your loved one’s skilled nursing home and ask if they can assist in setting up ways to virtually connect. Zoom calls, FaceTime, Google Meet, and Facebook groups are all great ways to check in. There should always be someone at your loved one’s center who’s happy to assist. It will be useful to ensure these face-to-face calls happen on a regular basis so that the staff can be there to assist if necessary.
Many popular board games and card games offer online options. Set up a weekly card game! There are many health benefits to playing games.
What if you took a virtual yoga or meditation class together? There are increasingly more options for connecting virtually, such as having a Netflix party or creating a virtual book club.
As the holidays near, it’s also a good time to consider scheduling virtual celebrations with the whole family. Sharing a peek into each family member’s home as they prepare for and enjoy the holiday is the next best thing to being there.
Get Back to Basics
Sometimes the old ways of communication are still the best! Take up letter writing, send care packages, or schedule a phone chain so that each day of the week, a different family member gives your loved one a call.
Share photos of your family and what they’ve been up to in a small scrapbook. Even just a few sheets of paper stapled together, with names, dates, and places noted next to the photos can work wonders. This is a great way to provide a physical link with your loved one instead of relying on sharing photos virtually. Packages can always be mailed or left at the front desk of your loved one’s center.
Keep a Regular Schedule
Work with your loved one and other supportive members of your family to create a regular virtual schedule. Maybe you do a Zoom call with your loved one every Tuesday evening, and your sister reads a book or watches a favorite television program together virtually every Thursday morning. Make time each Saturday to print out some photos and write a quick letter.
Whatever you decide, it will be easier to make these connections happen once they become part of your regular routine. Human beings are resilient, and all it takes to shift our behavior is to make the effort to dedicate our time to new things!
Explore Skilled Nursing Centers Near You
At some point, the best thing for the physical and mental health of a loved one is to live at a skilled nursing center like the Dammert Care Center here at The Esquiline. If you are exploring skilled nursing options or seeking to move a loved one to a new center, our experts would be happy to discuss your loved one’s needs.