Even during “normal times”, the winter months can be especially hard on the seniors in your life. From harsh temperatures to feelings of isolation from loved ones, winter can be tough. Add on top of that a pandemic that is causing even more headship, and this time of year becomes incredibly challenging for seniors, especially those living in independent living, assisted living or memory care communities. It’s important that you take extra time to ensure the safety and well-being of your elderly relatives during the coldest time of year.
The seniors in your family may still live in their homes, reside in assisted living or live very far from you. Whatever the situation may be, it’s possible to remain connected and to keep a sense of togetherness for everyone. Consider the following suggestions to ensure that your loved one feels close to your family this winter season.
Telephone and Video Calls
There’s nothing better than spending time with your loved ones in person. However, since that is not possible for most this year, telephone calls are greatly appreciated! Consider making a schedule so that you regularly call your relatives. Or, set up a group video call every now and then with the whole family. This will give them something to look forward to.
If your relative has capabilities to receive video calls, the winter is the perfect time to utilize this. Facetime calling through Apple devices are one option. You can help your loved one set up a Skype, Zoom, or Echo Snow from Amazon account as well. This would allow your loved one to receive a video call, without needing a smartphone.
Old-Fashioned Letter Writing
While emails and text messages can be great, there is nothing like an old fashioned letter to lift up someone’s spirit. Encourage letter-writing within your family. Your loved one will cherish the letters that they receive from you and will likely look forward to the mail delivery.
Write letters of cheer to help them get through the lonely winter months. Feel free to include photographs, art made by children in the family and even small gifts. Plus, it’s something to keep on their refrigerator.
Shopping for Their Groceries
Seemingly simple chores such as grocery shopping can be hard for the senior members of your family during the winter. If ice and rain is a threat, it can be hard for them to drive to the grocery store and pick up their usual groceries.
Consider taking your family member’s shopping list and pick up the groceries for them. You will be able to deliver their groceries to them, while incorporating a valuable visit or even just saying hi through the window. Another option would be a grocery pick-up or delivery service, such as Instacart. You can help your loved one pick out their list, then assist them with the delivery method chosen.
Be sure to look for special senior hours that most stores, especially grocery stores, are offering. Many stores are offering a specific time for seniors to come shop. It’s usually the first thing in the morning, so the store is organized and extra clean.
Visits to Their Home or Community
Most importantly, visit your family members! In-person visits are invaluable. Sitting around the cozy fire and reminiscing about old times is popular in this age group. Watching their favorite television program would also be a great option.
While you are visiting, you may want to consider helping them with any chores that they may have. This would be greatly appreciated and will show them that you truly care about their safety and well-being.
This isn’t always possible due to distance, COVID-19 or other sickness. If appropriate and your loved one wants it, make sure to visit and brighten their day. Even a simple smile through a window or a wave across the lawn can make a huge impact.
Take Them to Appointments or Church
Many seniors have regularly scheduled doctors’ appointments or other events that they wish to attend. During the cold, winter months, your help getting them to these appointments will be appreciated. They may also wish to attend weekly church services but need someone to assist them with this. This would be the perfect time to be able to bond with them and spend quality time with them as a family.
We hope that our suggestions can make the winter months a little easier for your senior loved ones. You will figure out more ways to connect and communicate with them as winter approaches.