The next 3 months are going to be challenging for a lot of families but this time is particularly difficult for the families of older people and their loved ones. Additionally many of our clients do not have the capacity to understand what is going on, let alone remember what Covid-19 is. We have also seen lots of advice on how to keep your kids amused when schools close, but what about older people?! Adorno Companions have therefore put together a list of tips to help our clients, the general public and those with family members that are self isolating on how to keep older people mentally well and entertained at home.
1. Buy them a smart phone or device so they can FaceTime or Skype you!
Devices are now relatively inexpensive. As long as they can (i) charge the device (ii) press the green button when you phone, this should be quite simple for most older people. While nothing will ever replace face to face contact and there’s nothing like a good old hug from your mum or dad, there’s a lot to be said for video calling.
2. Keep them virtually connected with young people, toddlers and babies.
Most older people absolutely love kids, especially their own relatives. Why not check in on them the same time each day? Add it into bedtime routine? When we interact intergenerationally, there are so many health benefits, particularly if participants are working together on something and one to one interaction is encouraged.
3. Ask older people for help and advice.
Got a teenager at home that is stuck on some homework? Needs someone that will listen but you’re busy trying to get wider family members organised in case of self isolation? Give them an on tap coach! Older people are great active listeners and you can introduce the problem that needs solving yourself then leave them to come up with potential options and solutions between them. If you think they might go off track, why not get Nan or Grandad to scribe the conversation? We can only try!
4. Send them an exercise video which you also have a copy of and video call them while you do it together.
There is no time like the present to find time to start exercising indoors. Why not post off a relatively un-taxing exercise video (I can recommend Davina-Fit in 15!) to your elderly family member and video call them while you do it together each day? There’s nothing like a bit of peer pressure to get you all moving more. Even if they only manage a few of the exercises, you’ve filled a part of their day which might have otherwise have been unfilled.
5. Watch the same movie at the same time and then call them to talk about it.
This is true escapism! Watching a good movie or film takes us all away from our day to day reality and couldn’t be a better distraction. What’s better than watching a classic Disney movie? Watching it with your family! Why not dig out some old classics, post them to nan or grandad, while you find it on NetFlix or Disney Plus?
6. Start a group story by post.
Why not get the kids to write an introductory paragraph to a story, then post it off to your older loved one? What do you need from them? The next paragraph! While this might cost you 61p 2nd class each time you post something, I think we can all stomach the hit on our purses/wallets in the knowledge that our older loved ones are busy using their imagination to fill in the next part of the story.