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How To Stay Connected With Seniors You Can’t Visit​

How To Stay Connected With Seniors You Can't Visit

The social distancing that keeps our residents safe may be hard on you. Separation leaves some people feeling lonely, anxious, or out of touch. So, we’ve mustered our creativity to help families stay connected with the seniors they can’t visit.

The following infographic provides a summary of our suggestions. Scroll down for more details.

We offer more details and ideas below.

While we’ve tailored our suggestions to meet Care Haven’s safety guidelines, they may be useful to others with at-risk friends or family members. Feel free to share!

Source: carehavenhomes.com

Call Frequently

“Don’t underestimate the power of a phone call,” says Jennifer L. FitzPatrick, a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and author of “ Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing the Stress of Caring for Your Loved One .” But because many of us aren’t doing much outside the home these days, it may be hard to come up with topics to discuss. FitzPatrick suggests reading a book or watching a favorite TV show or movie together over the phone. You could also do fill-in-the-blank stories or use “table topics”-type questions to spark conversation.

Plan a window visit

You’ve likely seen viral photos of “window visits” people are having with senior family members at their homes or outside of senior care facilities. During these visits, family members stay outside, but they chat with their loved ones on the phone or bring handmade signs with messages. “It feels much more like a normal visit when they can see their loved ones,” says Goyer.

In addition to window visits, families are also putting a social distancing spin on other types of house calls. “Caregivers have told me their loved ones sit on their porch and family and friends sit on a lawn chair in the yard far away and they visit that way, or from a car,” Goyer explains. “My cousin’s children make chalk drawings in my aunt and uncle’s driveway (their grandparents), and they sit on the porch and watch them draw and can communicate from a safe distance.”

Source: care.com

Between Virtual Visits, Stay In Touch With Seniors The Old-Fashioned Way

Older adults learned to stay connected between visits through the fine art of letter writing. Let’s face it: we all love getting cards and notes via snail mail.

Don’t be intimidated, staring at that empty sheet of paper. A short note even a postcard will do. Just include

A salutation (“Dear ____,”)

3 or 4 sentences

The closing (“Love,”)

Most important, your signature legible, with an identifier to help if a caregiver needs to read it (Your granddaughter Joan Your son Jon Your old friend June George, your friend from church Gina, your neighbor from Brookside)

Feel free to add a heart, smiley face or doodle, too. You can even write several notes or cards at the same time and then mail them days or a week apart.

Snail mail: that’s all it takes to stay connected with seniors when you can’t visit.

Speaking of mail, we appreciate it when you send all correspondence to our office, where we can sanitize it before redelivery.

Source: carehavenhomes.com

 

Set up a family Video Conference

FaceTime and video calls aren’t just for young people. If the senior in your life is in a nursing home or assisted living and doesn’t have their own equipment, chances are good the staff can help. At The Falls Home, an assisted living facility in Montour Falls, N.Y., administrator Julie Everhart says they will arrange video calls through the front desk so that residents can stay connected. “Our staff will then coordinate a quiet location in order to give the families their privacy,” she says.

By using a service like Zoom, you can involve multiple parties, and even make it a virtual happy hour or lunch. “Everyone in the family can bring a beverage or meal to their computer and catch up,” FitzPatrick says. And if there’s a special occasion, take a video and send clips to your loved ones even better if you can arrange a video call to sing “Happy Birthday” or “meet” a new grandbaby.

“Several months ago, my husband and I streamed a party we had for our newborn son for his ill grandfather,” says Nicole Arzt, a marriage and family therapist based in Orange County, California. “While he wasn’t there to attend the event, he was able to hear everyone’s voices and feel like he was part of the experience.”

Source: northwesternmutual.com

Make a safe in-person visit

“If you live near your older loved ones, drive to their house, sit outside and make a phone call,” FitzPatrick recommends. “You can wave and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ so your parent can see you.” You can even leave a cake on the front porch no contact is needed. Even if it’s not a special occasion, bring the kids and even your pets by to say hi through the window. They can draw pictures or dress in funny costumes to bring a smile to their grandparent’s face.

Source: northwesternmutual.com

Take a virtual vacation

Sure, most resorts, museums, and other fun destinations are closed to the public, but you can still explore the world together from the safety of your own home. “For example,” says Sarafan, “why not give them a call and take a tour of an online museum together?” You can find free online virtual tours of destinations like Yellowstone National Park Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the Louvre in Paris, and even Mars. As long as your senior loved one has access to a smart device, they’ll be able to follow along at your chosen destination. Sarafan says Home Care Assistance has also created a Life Enrichment Guide with additional virtual activity ideas for seniors and their families.

Source: care.com

 

Enlist caregivers’ help

If your loved one has limited abilities, lives in a senior care facility, or has an in-home care provider, see what their caregivers can do to assist them in staying in touch. “Many facilities are purchasing tablets and having staff take them to residents’ rooms periodically to video chat with their families,” Goyer says. “This is particularly important for residents who are unable to manage it by themselves.” If you’re going the non-electronic route, Sarafan adds that caregivers can also be asked to assist with letters and cards so your loved one can provide you with regular updates. “One thing many of our Home Care Assistance care team members do is write handwritten notes to clients, family members, and community partners,” she explains. “A caregiver can easily help and even write letters for the older adult should they need help.”

Source: care.com

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words (Which Is Many, Many Visits!)

Consider creating an album filled with pictures of family members or recalling special memories. Take the opportunity to scan and upload treasured wedding photos or vacation pictures, thereby preserving a digital copy. (You can always use them later in other albums as well!) Our caregivers appreciate it if you also add text to photo books, identifying both people and places. Then we can help your loved ones share their memories.

Source: carehavenhomes.com

 

BE CONSISTENT

However you choose to reach out, make sure it happens on a regular basis, Artz says. Call every Sunday or at a regularly scheduled time, and then make every effort to follow through, as your family member could very well plan their whole day around it.

“Many of us are struggling with social distancing all of a sudden, but it’s important to remember that a lot of older adults are isolated already and have been unintentionally socially distancing for quite a while,” FitzPatrick says. “Use this time as a lesson to plan how you will engage with them in person more frequently once this temporary unprecedented time in history is over.”

Contact Us

Location:

Braley Care Homes

6192 US 60

Hurricane, WV 25526

 

Phone Numbers:

Referrals and Inquiries: (304) 767-4033

Facility Phone: (304) 201-3677

Facility Fax: (304) 201-3678

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The Importance of Vaccines in Nursing Homes​

The Importance of Vaccines in Nursing Homes

Host: Nursing homes that want to keep their federal funding will have to make sure their staff is vaccinated against the coronavirus. The white house says the department of health and human services will draw up new regulations that require staff to all nursing homes receiving medicare and medicaid funds to get the COVID vaccine and if they don’t those facilities could lose funding. The move marks the first time President Biden has threatened to withhold federal funds over vaccinations and this could affect more than 15 000 nursing homes which employs about 1.3 million people according to the centers for medicare and medicaid services about 40 percent of those workers are not vaccinated. Well today we are joined by Chris Braley from Braley Care Homes and here we always are glad when you stop by.

Chris: Thank you!

H: And this probably hits home with you a little bit i know that you all are big on getting everyone vaccinated how are you all at this point?

C: yeah it’s interesting we actually um i’ve just created a policy this week um for our facility uh where all my staff will have to be vaccinated and we set a date by october 1st they need to have at least one shot.

H: Right and then of course you all started months ago with your residents as well.

C: oh yeah yeah we started i think we did a show

H: Right when you got to get the vaccine.

C: very eager to get in and we had a great turnout with our staff at that time and uh most everyone got vaccinated.

H: Yeah okay so what is your policy if friends or family members want to come in and visit one of your residents? what do they need to know before they come in?

C: well obviously you know we do a little screening with them and they they don’t want to if they’re feeling sick they certainly don’t want to come in we do have the ability to do a covid test a 15-minute test so that they can always get tested before coming in to ensure that they don’t have COVID but we do we are still doing visitations and when they come in they’ll either visit in a bedroom or we have a nice courtyard and a gazebo and they can go out and visit outside.

H: yeah fresh air that is nice and in your line of work why is it so important to make sure you have these policies and make sure that everyone is being as safe as possible

C: yeah i mean you know it really when you think of COVID i think of this as really a war with the virus right and we we need a defense and to me you know masking and vaccines are a way to defeat this virus and you have to you have to do this and of course as a society we have to have more and more people

H: right!

C: to do this in order to win this war.

H: Right, okay so what would be your i guess your standard practice of someone watching right now they think they would like to come in to tour maybe they have a loved one that they would like to get at your facility are you allowing those type of visits?

C: oh yeah yeah yeah we do tours but again we kind of ask you know have you been vaccinated right and if they have then uh you know we’ll have them come in they still do a screening check and temperature and things of that nature and uh and they have to mask up and then we’ll give a tour

H: (okay) and we’ve got the information on the screen now if anyone at home would like to contact you we’ve got your phone number there you all have a website you’re on Facebook and one thing that they will notice if they check out your facebook page and website you do a lot of fun things with the residents.

C: And we like to get silly.

H: You do and you all post those which is very nice so with the olympics did you do some fun things.

C: We did, we did we did. We had a huge bowling competition (wow) and i was amazed at how many residents got involved and were so competitive with each other so it was a real success

H: yeah, because it’s a very important this time or any time to make sure their their morale is lifted too

C: oh yeah absolutely and and they are you know they’re having a fun time and they’re looking forward to the next

H: Which will probably be what? Fall fests and Halloween themed things

C: Absolutely yeah we’ll have all sorts of costumes!

H: yes well chris thanks for what you all are doing at your Braley Care Homes there and thanks for stopping by again and sharing what you all are doing

C: Absolutely! Thank you, Susan.


Contact Us

Location:

Braley Care Homes

6192 US 60

Hurricane, WV 25526

 

Phone Numbers:

Referrals and Inquiries: (304) 767-4033

Facility Phone: (304) 201-3677

Facility Fax: (304) 201-3678

© 2020 Braley Care Homes, Inc.