The holiday season is upon us, and many caregivers are facing the difficult challenge of finding ways to stay connected with their loved ones amidst the continued closures of care facilities.
Even if in-person visits are not in the picture for your family this year, there are still ways to show up for your loved one to remind them that they are safe and cared for. Here are a few ideas.
- Arrange an in-person visit from a distance: Contact their facility in advance to find out if you can schedule a time to meet your loved one at a window or glass door so that you can see each other’s faces and smiles. If you’re able to, talking on phones at the same time can make it feel more like a true in-person visit.
- Virtual holiday: If you’re unable to travel to your loved one for a distanced meetup, the next best thing is a virtual one. Plan a set time and day to celebrate the holiday using a tool like Zoom or FaceTime. Invite other family members to make it feel like a true holiday gathering, but keep the guest list minimal so as not to overwhelm your family member.
- Send a care package: Put together a holiday-themed care package of some of his or her favorite things, including those that they loved during the holidays that may bring about fond memories. Things like favorite snacks, fun activities or photographs of your family can be comforting mementos to help them get through the challenging time.
- Greeting cards: Many residential facilities have started pen pal programs to give messages of hope and happiness to seniors who are feeling isolated right now. In addition to finding out if their facility participates in a program, you can recruit your own family members or neighbors to create holiday greetings to lift their spirits and remind them that they are never alone. Include personal greetings about your own life to really reinforce the sense of connection.
I would love to hear your ideas for bringing warmth and comfort to loved ones during the holiday season and beyond. The Dementia Whisperer Facebook community is a supportive online space for caregivers to gather and share.