Staying Connected to Family Members in Nursing Care Facilities
Our Ideas for Engaging and Including Seniors
When a loved one moves into a nursing care facility, all family members must adapt to the change. Consider this an opportunity to create a new routine, and make sure your loved one continues to feel connected and included. While COVID-19 placed a huge strain on families and nursing home residents, restrictions on visitation have largely been lifted. However, as we move forward, keeping in mind both in-person and virtual ways to stay close as a family will be important. Here are a few ideas for staying connected to family members in nursing homes:
- Attend functions and activities that are open to family. Whenever you can join your loved one for an event, concert, or holiday party, make an effort to do so.
- Visit often. Create a predictable routine for how often you will visit. Consider alternating or rotating days or weekends with other family members.
- Provide your loved one with a tablet. If it is feasible to do so, giving your senior a tablet can provide an essential connection to their family. They can use the tablet to more easily participate in video chats, play interactive games, watch television shows, check their email and messages, and much more. The screen size is larger than a smartphone, which helps with its ease of use, and apps can be easily organized for the senior on the main screen.
- Call often. Check in just to say hello and ask how your loved one’s day was. If it is difficult to keep a phone or video conversation going for more than a few minutes, consider watching a television show together—the Watch Netflix Together app makes this easy—or playing a trivia game.
- Send handwritten notes and cards. Your loved one can display cards on their door for other residents to see. If your senior is having a particularly hard day, they can also hold on to these special notes and cards as a tangible reminder that they are not alone. Keep in mind that senior care staff, nurses, and aides would also love to receive a handwritten note of appreciation from a family member for the care they provide to their loved one.
- Bring items that make your loved one’s life happier. Framed school photos of grandchildren, a pair of nice slippers, a stack of new books—all of these items can add some joy to your senior’s daily life.
Do you have other ideas about how to stay connected to your loved ones in a nursing home? We’d love to hear what is working for you and your family. If we can answer any questions that you have about moving your loved one to a senior care community, please reach out.