How to Stay Connected with Your Loved One After They Move into a Nursing Home
- By Franklin Drazen
- Posted June 28, 2022
It’s often difficult to stay in touch with a loved one after placing them in a nursing home. You have a busy schedule, your own family to care for, and other responsibilities that get in your way. Planning a visit to the nursing home might not be that easy.
However, you want to spend quality time with your family member whenever possible. They might feel lonely in their new residence and need a visit from someone they feel comfortable around and love.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging in many communities, including nursing homes, seeing your loved one might not have been possible. State-wide restrictions prevented many people from setting foot inside these facilities, forcing some to develop unique solutions to get the quality time they want while maintaining social distancing.
Whether your loved one recently moved into a nursing home or has been there for a long time, below are some of the best ways to stay connected.
Rely on Technology for Quality Time
Older adults are vulnerable to viruses, including COVID-19. Even if the nursing home allows visitors, you might not want to take the chance of passing the coronavirus or another medical issue on to your loved one. You can stay in touch and have the face-to-face visits you want while behaving responsibly.
Common forms of communication include:
- Email – Some nursing home patients don’t like or know how to text, so you might have to stay in contact by using email. Send them an email regularly informing them of what’s happening in your life and ask them about how they’re doing.
- Video calls – Many electronic devices allow video calls through Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime. Schedule weekly or monthly sessions with your loved one. You can also include other family members and enjoy group calls so everyone can catch up simultaneously.
- Care packages – If the facility allows personal deliveries, send your loved one a care package with a hand-written note. Put some thought into it and include everything they need and love. You can pack their favorite candy, a book they mentioned they want to read, and some essentials, such as soap and other bath products.
- Text – If your family member has a cell phone and knows how to text, stay connected through text messages. If possible, you can check in with them every day by asking them about residents they formed friendships with and activities they have participated in since moving to the nursing home.
Plan Safe Visits and Activities
Whether you visit them at the nursing home or pick them up for an afternoon excursion, you can stay connected with your loved one while doing what you both enjoy. Some activities might include:
- Celebrations – Celebrate a birthday by planning a party you can invite your loved one and other family members to. Maintain social distancing to avoid spreading COVID-19 by wearing masks and spending the day outside in a park or someone's backyard.
- Field trips – Take your relative on a field trip to their favorite museum, a restaurant, or the beach. Plan fun excursions that take them away from their usual routine and allow you to spend quality time together.
- Nursing home premises – You don’t necessarily have to go anywhere to have a good time with your family. Visit them at the nursing home and join them in their weekly card game or social event planned by the facility.
Contact an elder law attorney right now if you’re considering moving your loved one into a nursing home. We can assist you with preparations and help you ensure they receive the care they need to remain healthy and safe.