6 Tips to Keep Connected to Your Senior Loved One Right Now

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. 

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Raise your hand if you can’t wait to hug your senior loved one again! Although you may have to wait a bit longer for that, there are still plenty of ways to stay connected with them. All it takes is some technology mixed with a bit of creativity and who knows, you may find your family becomes even closer! Check out these tips.

Apart from a senior loved one? At Vitality, we know it isn’t easy. That’s why we created a resource to help you and your loved one navigate the COVID-19 pandemic as safely as possible . The COVID-19 Guide for Seniors provides valuable information about preparing the home, caring for yourself and your senior loved one, staying connected during social distancing and more. Download it with our compliments today!

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  1. Video Chat – No, this isn’t exactly a new idea; you’ve been doing this for months right? However, the tip is to be more intentional about it. For example, try to have at least one family member reach out to your loved one daily and have your loved one reach out too. The point is for them to see (or hear the voice) of someone they love each day. What’s more, it’s important to avoid COVID-19 being the main focus of the conversation; chat about the grandkids or other lighthearted topics. Make this time a welcome reprieve for your loved one!
  2. Host a Game Night – It’s an ideal way to de-stress and have some fun. You could do it over Zoom or host a Facebook Live with games that everyone is familiar with like trivia, charades, Pictionary or bingo. Or, play 20 Questions with a twist and pick objects from your childhood for a great opportunity to reminisce with your loved one too!
  3. Share a Meal – Whether it’s having lunch once a week or Sunday night dinner, you can still get together to share a meal virtually. Make it informal and simply connect just the two of you during mealtime. Or, make it an event and invite the whole family. You could share recipes beforehand and have everyone cook the same thing. Another option, if family lives close, is to have one or more of you prepare dishes, portion them out and deliver them to each other – in a socially distanced way of course.
  4. Watch Your Favorites Together – Is there a favorite TV series you and your loved one can’t miss? Watch it together each week over Zoom, Facetime or Skype so you can dish about it like you always have. Or, make a point to connect weekly to watch a favorite movie – you could rotate who picks each week to make it even more fun!
  5. Get Active Together – Staying at home more usually means less physical activity. So why not start an exercise group with your loved one and perhaps other family members? It’s much easier to stay motivated in a group setting and we could all benefit both mentally and physically from exercise, especially seniors. There are plenty of free home workout videos from which to choose too!
  6. Send Some Love – With so much of our lives online right now, it’s even more special to physically get something in the mail. Sending your loved one cards and/or care packages is a wonderful way to connect. Include puzzles, books or art supplies; anything that would bring a smile to their face. You could even each do scrapbook pages about your experiences during COVID-19 that could be assembled once you’re back together again. Or, you could both keep a journal to share.

Keeping Families Connected in Our Communities

We’re working hard to keep residents in our senior living communities connected with their families too, and are always looking for creative ways to do so including:

  • Making computers and/or devices available to connect residents with friends and families through FaceTime, Zoom, Google Duo, and Skype.
  • Hosting drive-by parades where families and others in the local area participate with signs of love and support.
  • Offering window visits between residents and loved ones in communities where in-person visits aren’t yet available, and even encouraging fun conversation topics as well as games like window Tic Tac Toe and Show & Share.

Check out our community Facebook feeds to see other creative ways we’re keeping life vibrant while staying safe! We also provide updates via Facebook in each of our communities.

To learn more about senior living at Vitality, contact us today to schedule a virtual tour!

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