Staying in touch with your family can be hard when you’re encouraged to stay at home. But being limited to little to no social interaction can have negative mental effects on anyone. Seniors are especially prone to depression and other cognitive impairments since many live alone. If you are a senior alone and quarantined, here are some ways you can keep in touch with your family remotely.
Facetime and Skype
Web chat apps, such as Facetime and Skype, are a perfect way to stay in touch with your family long-distance. If you have access to a smartphone or computer with a webcam, you can use Facetime, Skype, or both. Technology can be tricky, so if you need help setting up a Facetime call or Skype video chat, look for how-to videos on YouTube.
Daily conversations via Facetime or Skype are fine for checking in on family, but if you’re looking for something a bit more entertaining, try the following options.
Playing virtual games via web chat
While you have your family on video chat, try playing some games together. Heads Up and Pictionary are great options to try over video chat. Have everyone in the family download these apps and play together.
Heads Up is perfect for this because you hold the phone against your forehead while the other person describes what’s on your phone’s screen. It’s just like playing in person. . This app has several different games, including charades, but you could play charades the old-fashioned way, too. Other games, such as Words with Friends, chess, or checkers are also available in online versions.
Host a teach and learn session
Grandchildren can learn so much from their grandparents. If you have a cool hobby or skill you can teach your grandchildren, host a teach and learn session via Facetime or Skype. These sessions not only let you keep in touch with family, but they allow you to spend quality time with grandkids and pass down some wisdom.
You could teach your grandkids how to sew a patch on some jeans, how to bake a pie, how to knit a scarf, how to plant flowers, or pretty much anything else you know how to do.
Or you could learn something new together. Help them study or do homework. Although your grandkids may be learning from home, you can still help them study for a spelling test, practice their times tables, or give them ideas for an art project.
Write letters to each other
Not being able to see each other every day like we’re used to opens up an opportunity to return to life before technology. Before the tech revolution, writing letters was the best way to keep in touch with your family. Practice a bit of nostalgia and send a letter; it’s something your family can hold on to and cherish forever.
You can even teach your young grandchildren a life lesson. It’s likely your young grandkids don’t know how to write a letter and mail it; take this opportunity to teach them a skill they can use their whole life.
Don’t forget the power of a phone call. Most people like getting calls. It means that someone is thinking about them. Never hesitate to pick up the phone and check in with a family member, even after the social distancing rules have been lifted.
Danielle K. Roberts is the Vice President and co-founder at Boomer Benefits, where her team of experts help baby boomers with their Medicare decisions nationwide.