Staying Connected with Family Members in Assisted Living

Published: Apr 09, 2020
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As you are aware, new restrictions are now being enforced limiting visitors to long-term care and assisted living centres to protect the health of their residents. This has created significant anxiety and worry for many families, who are unable to visit their loved ones living in care homes

Staying away does not mean staying disconnected. There are several innovative ways in which you can stay connected with your loved ones during this time. If you have not been able to visit your loved one, and you are worried about their wellbeing, here are some creative ways to stay in touch with your loved one living in an assisted-living or long-term care setting.

Creative Ideas and Practices for Staying Connected During Isolation

  • Communicate via letters and cards
  • Drop off care packages at the care home, to ensure that the loved one has adequate supplies of medications, hand sanitizers, favourite music, puzzles, and favourite snacks/ foods.
  • Use technology –phone, video chat, FaceTime, text and email.
    • If the person doesn't know how to use the technology, get a staff member to assist with phone call or video chat.
    • If facility staff assist in setting up equipment, request that they leave the resident's room, so you're able to chat privately.
    • Ask other family members and friends to send short video greetings that the resident can watch at any time. Staff can also help resident to record videos to send in response.
    • Use the facility’s contact page on their website as a way to contact residents.
    • If your family member is unable to engage in calls or video chats, ask the facility how you can keep in touch with facility staff in order to get updates.
  • Children can participate in this initiative by writing notes, uploading a drawing, or sending a short video to grandma or grandpa in assisted living facilities.
  • Alternatively, arrange to meet the person outside their window or arrange a visit outside a glass door
  • When you meet or connect virtually with your loved one, speak calmly and reassuringly, as you would normally.
  • In order to ensure that your loved one cooperates with the care home staff in all personal care tasks, create a small video, greeting your loved one, and requesting them to comply with the staff’s request. This will be very useful for the staff in all caregiving situations.
  • Take care of your mental health (and also offer resources and suggestions to your loved ones in care home) while social distancing.
    • Brainstorm ideas for maintaining regular activities with the care home staff like playing bingo by using call lights, conducting an exercise class via video chat, or playing individual games like bowling in the hallway.
  • Utilize free online resources and share with your loved ones, based on their interest. Some of these are: