The current Covid-19 Pandemic and the changes we have made to keep each other safe has changed our lives in way we couldn’t have imagined 6 months ago. It has changed the way we interact with family and friends. It has also changed the way most of us do business and interact with the community at large.
This change has been especially hard on the very young and the older portion of our society. Young people, children aren’t going to school. Older people are isolated as well. Older people can probably understand the isolation, but may need tools to increase their socialization.
The first and most obvious would be using the telephone. I know that I am talking with family and friends much more often on the phone. I used to text friends between our ‘in person’ gatherings. Now I crave their voice, so I call instead of text and end up talking for quite a while and enjoying that very much. If you have other family and friends you share, encourage them to call on the phone as well. This increased talking time can make a difference in how your mom is feeling.
My next suggestion is embrace technology and use this as an opportunity to expand the way they interact. The tools of FaceTime, Zoom and Skype (among others) are wonderful ways of communicating and actually seeing them on a regular basis.
FaceTime is an Apple specific application, but the others are readily available in your phone or device app store or for download online if you have a desktop computer or laptop. Please note that you will need access to a camera and microphone when using a desktop computer or laptop.
These technologies are great for all the members of your family. With many of them, you can speak with multiple people at once. Imagine you and your sibling being able to speak with mom at the same time. Senior Life Matters has started doing our appointments via Zoom & FaceTime as a way to meet the needs of our clients yet reduce the risk of the in person contact.
We learn a lot about how people are feeling from the way they look. How do they look to you? Have they lost weight? Gained weight? How does the house look behind them?
Once you get a better picture of their situation, you can work towards addressing any concerns that come up.
In a future article, I will be touching on other tools you can use to help your mother in her home when you can’t be there for her.
I have made the assumption your mother has the device already. If not, I would suggest purchasing the technology they need for this to happen. When thinking of a tablet or IPad, there are other uses as well. The access to email, or e-books, or online crossword puzzles are all great uses for this technology. The learning curve on these devices can be difficult in the beginning, but it is worth it, so keep at it. The more you use it, the easier it becomes. The personal contact that it takes to set it up in the beginning is worth the ability to make your contact for fulfilling for both of you in the future.
Senior Life Matters is a community based program sponsored by Lutheran Jamestown. For questions and concerns or to reach Janell Sluga, GCMC, call us at 716-720-9797 or e-mail at SLM@lutheran-jamestown.org.