Supporting Your Senior Loved One from a Distance during COVID-19

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 

blog-family-decision-guide

 

At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of social distancing has been taken to heart. Most everyone is washing their hands, keeping their distance and only going out when necessary. But for those considered high-risk of more severe illness such as seniors and/or those with chronic health conditions, experts say to stay home and away from other people altogether. While it’s unimaginable that keeping our senior loved ones safe means distancing ourselves from them; that’s our new reality. However, there are still ways to support them and show your loved one how much you care.

The Struggle of Social Distancing

By definition, social distancing is a technique used to prevent the spread of pandemic disease by physically distancing yourself from others. Although logistically this can prove to be a challenge, the real struggle is an emotional one. Staying apart from your loved one can leave you feeling guilty and your loved one feeling isolated at a time when senior isolation is a growing concern with serious health risks all on its own. The bright spot is that the COVID-19 shouldn’t last forever and the lessons we learn during this time of social distancing can help us stay better connected in the future, whether near or far.

New call-to-action

How You Can Help Senior Loved Ones

Let’s put that thought into action and keep in mind that some of the best tools at our disposal are creativity, technology and, as always, our time.

If your loved one is at home:

  • Arrange deliveries for food, supplies and prescriptions. Most grocery stores and many pharmacies are now offering delivery and/or shipping as well. Also check delivery options at local restaurants and don’t forget services such as Door Dash and Uber Eats. As a last resort, you can always shop in-store for your loved one and drop supplies off without coming in contact.
  • Check in regularly with video conferencing tools such as Skype and FaceTime. It may not be quite the same as being in-person, but you can still see each other and connect. But make sure you don’t just focus on COVID-19 updates. Keep them informed, listen and make sure they’re protecting themselves, but make time to chat about the grandkids or other more light-hearted topics.
  • Have some fun by setting up a family Facebook group and/or use Facebook Live. Along the same lines of what we said above, keep these off the topic of the pandemic and instead share stories, play games like ‘Have You Ever,’ or ’20 Questions’, do a watch party of your favorite shows and have dinner together. It’s a great way to bond and have a laugh together while not actually together.
  • Encourage telemedicine rather than cancelling as seniors often have a number of regular doctor’s appointments that are important to their wellbeing. They’d simply use a website link or an app to connect with the doctor remotely over a secure video chat. Whether they have Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance, look in to whether their coverage has been expanded during this time. 
  • Keep fear at bay by making sure they are getting COVID-19 information from reputable sources such as the CDC and WHO. Misinformation is rampant right now as are fear mongering and scams which can not only be costly, but some advice can be harmful. Let your loved one know you’re always there should they have any questions, fears or concerns.
  • Send your love with cards and care packages with puzzles, books and art supplies; anything that would bring a smile to their face (have them sanitize items they receive and wash hands after). You could each do scrapbooking pages about your experiences during this time that could be put together once you’re able to be back together again. Or keep a journal to share.

If your loved one is in senior living you can apply many of the same tips from above, however our communities are also offering these additional resources:

  • A daily webinar hosted on Facebook Live in which we update residents and families on our COVID-19 response as well as take and answer questions from attendees. These are hosted by executive directors at each of our communities and you can either participate live or watch the recorded session at your convenience. 
  • Creative activities help to prevent isolation and keep our residents engaged while practicing social distancing. For example virtual field trips have replaced our regularly scheduled outings for our residents. This opens up even more options for enrichment as we’re not limited to the local area; we can ‘visit’ anywhere in the world!
  • Extra precautions such as checking residents’ and team members’ temperatures daily; frequent disinfecting of commonly touched environmental surfaces to decrease environmental contamination; encouraging hand-washing for at least 20 seconds and standard precautions, such as wearing masks, gloves and gowns as situations warrant their use.

To learn more about the advantages of senior living during this challenging time, contact a community near you today!

Vitality Living half Blossom
Skip to content