Social distancing due to COVID-19 will likely have an impact on summer activities. Trips may need to be postponed or canceled, family reunions may not be able to take place as planned, and friends and families may need to engage virtually instead of in-person. For our aging seniors, this distance can feel vast, especially if they have already had limited engagement with family and friends. To help lessen the distance, we provided some tips and ideas for making summer still feel special for your aging loved ones, even if you can’t be together in person. Take a look!
Make family reunions virtual.
It’s likely family reunion gathers may not be able to happen in the same ways this year. For your aging loved ones who may really miss seeing family, especially younger generations, there is still something special you can do you make them feel connected. Ask your extended family to share a current photo of their family and put these into a slide show you can share with everyone. Include the names and ages of everyone in the photos so your aging loved one can recognize who they are and how they are related. Best of all, this is a great keepsake for the future and possibly something you’ll keep up with every year.
Commit to regular communication.
Even as our schedules become more relaxed in the summer, things can still get so busy that we forget to check in regularly with our aging parents or grandparents. Make a commitment to talk with them by phone or video, or send a text message to them at least once per week. Share a story or a photo, or simply ask about their day. Knowing that they can expect at least one communication from your family per week will give them something to look forward to and make them feel loved.
Make a summer scrapbook to share your memories.
Even if you can all be together this summer, many memories will still take place. Document as many of these memories as you can by taking photos. Then at the end of summer put these photos into a scrap book to mail to your loved one. They will be thrilled to browse through all the memories and see how the children have grown throughout the summer. This will become a cherished possession they can return to time and time again.
Send a summer care package.
Speaking of mailing something special, put together a summer care package for your senior parents or grandparents. This can include items like a new hat or visor to wear when outside, gardening gloves and seed packets if they like to garden, or a new book or notebook, or their favorite tea or treat. Think of small items that might be most useful during the summer months and that will also brighten their day. We all love to receive something thoughtful in the mail, and even more so during social distancing when we all can’t be together.
Become old fashioned pen pals.
This final idea is a blast from the past. Pick up a pen and paper and write a series of “summer letters” to your parents or grandparents. Aim to mail them one once per week. These can be short and simple, sharing what your family did this week or maybe some milestone or special stories. Ask them to try to write a response to each letter and mail it back. And get the kids involved! Sure, this takes a little more work than a quick phone call, but the thought and keepsake of the letters means so much more.
How will this summer be different for you and your family amidst COVID-19? Share how you plan to stay connected even if you can’t all be together in person. Join in the conversation by leaving a comment below.