To protect the most vulnerable residents against COVID-19, assisted living, continuing care and skilled nursing communities are raising the bar for casual visits — following federal and health care industry recommendations as coronavirus infections spread across the country.
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What's more, at least one state, California, is suggesting that gatherings inside these senior living centers of people susceptible to the virus be limited to no more than 10 per room, as the federal government is now encouraging for all gatherings. That can curtail social groups such as book clubs, craft classes and meals in the communal dining room.
So what can you do to keep a loved one engaged and not socially isolated?
Here are ideas to show you are still there in spirit and still care.
1. Send snail mail
Handwritten cards and letters are more special than ever, perhaps because electronic communication is increasingly supplanting them. Recipients can display the cards and re-read correspondence to remind themselves that you care.
2. Share a virtual meal
Plan a long-distance date. Order what your loved one likes — and pay for it — via a meal delivery service such as DoorDash or Grubhub and make sure the meal gets there at the appropriate time. Then call to talk during the meal, making sure that your resident knows how to use a speakerphone feature on her cellphone or landline phone.
3. Use other delivery services
You know the snacks your loved likes. Since you can't bring a few packages of treats during a visit, arrange for a bulk delivery.