Pictured: ECH residents Jean and Ben Matthews celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with their children while practicing social distancing.
Just because we need to stay six feet apart this summer and wear our masks doesn’t mean we can’t have fun! Seniors and their caregivers have been through a lot over the past few months, and many people are likely starting to get restless as the summer goes on. There are so many different activities you can do with the seniors in your life, or that you can encourage them to do this summer. Here are some of our favorites.
Top 7 Socially Distant Activities for Seniors & Their Families
1. Talk With Each Other
Perhaps the most important activity is to talk. Whether you want to talk about current events, a favorite TV show, or even childhood and lifelong memories, talking with your loved ones is a great way to feel closer and show them how much you care. If you can, consider asking your loved ones about some of their favorite stories of their lives. Record them or write them down if you can so you can always treasure those stories.
2. Virtually Visit an Attraction
If you’re able to be physically with the senior in your life, consider going for a virtual visit of your favorite spots. Places like the Yellowstone National Park have tours on their website, and the Cincinnati Zoo has been doing a “home safari” almost every day they were closed during the pandemic. You can find those episodes on their Facebook page.
3. Share Photos
Now’s a great time to look through your old photos and put together any scrapbooks or photo books from your most recent trips. Consider ordering one for the senior in your life, or drop off your copy to them if you can’t be with them physically. Then, give them a call and talk through some of the fun memories in those pages.
4. Write Letters
Encourage your loved ones to write letters during this time. Technology is wonderful, but it can be so nice to receive a physical piece of mail. If you have children or young neighbors, ask them to write notes to the seniors in your life. While they’d love hearing from you, it’s extra special to involve young children.
5. Get Outside
If you and your senior loved one have been quarantining together, now is a great time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Go for a walk in the neighborhood or at a park — just make sure you stay 6 feet apart from others and wear a mask as the CDC says. And, if you’re a night owl, take this time to look up at the stars and learn some more about astronomy. There are plenty of apps available that can help you know what you’re looking at in the sky.
6. Visit When You Can
As the number of cases continues to change daily, our policies and those of other assisted living communities are also changing. Be sure to look for our latest updates to know what our current policies are. When possible, schedule a time to visit with your loved one during available outdoor visits. Don’t forget to wear your mask! If we are unable to offer or you are unable to attend an in-person visit, a Zoom or other virtual visit can also be beneficial for your loved one’s care.
7. Read or Watch a Show Together
Whether you’re together or apart, set up a book or TV club. This can be just you and your loved one, or you can get more of your family involved virtually! Choose a book or a television show that you can each read or watch on your own time. Then, schedule a time to have a call or a virtual meeting to talk about what you just read or watched. It can keep everyone engaged, busy, and looking forward to something.
Just because physical distancing and mask requirements are still in effect doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your aging loved ones this summer! These seven ideas are a great place to get started, but there are countless more activities you could do. Which will you do first?
For more caregiving tips, download the Episcopal Church Home’s Caregiver Guide. You can also fill out an information request form to learn more about our Louisville retirement community.