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Advice From Our Community: How to Stay in Contact With a Senior Loved One

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Elderly Couple Smiling

As we age, human contact becomes more and more essential to our health and well-being. According to the National Institutes of Health, loneliness and isolation are predictors of "declining health and poor quality of life" in the elderly.

With the growing problem of social isolation and loneliness in older generations, it is extremely important to stay in touch with our aging loved ones as much as possible.

That’s why we asked you—our Northeast Ohio community—to share how you’ve personally stayed in touch with your senior loved ones. Continue reading to understand the several unique ways you can stay in touch with the elders in your family.

Pick Up the Phone

When it comes to staying in touch, one of the most common practices is picking up the phone. Phone conversations are simple even for people who aren’t very tech-savvy.

 Marilyn of North Royalton shares how calling her mother on a regular basis is what works best to keep in touch, especially because working with computers and technology can become a frustration to her mom.

 If you work better on a schedule, consider planning specific days and times you expect to hear from your senior loved ones.

“Years ago, I made a plan with my elderly uncle to have him call me every Sunday afternoon. If for some reason I don’t hear from him by Sunday evening, I call to check on him.” —Sherry, Akron

For those seniors who are interested in trying out newer technology, there is always the option of video chatting tools like Skype, Zoom and FaceTime. Each platform provides the functionality of a phone call but has the ability to see the other person while talking.

Host Family Get Togethers

Although technology has given us many options to stay in touch, there’s nothing that can beat a face-to-face visit. Visiting in person is a great way for family members to build and maintain relationships with senior loved ones. Some activities could include:

  • Home-cooked meals.
  • A game night.
  • A walk in the park.
  • Going out for dinner.

 “Listening is one of the kindest things we can do for anyone. Inviting senior loved ones over for lunch or dinner can be one of the greatest opportunities for listening and sharing stories. Even arranging to drive them to and from the destination adds value.” —Mary, Independence

Make Travel Plans

The National Institutes of Health states that “maintaining frequent communication and visiting with the seniors in our lives can help them ward off detrimental cognitive and physical problems as they age.” While it may be easy for some, others experience more difficulty staying in touch with senior loved ones when they live on the opposite side of the country.

 “I am one of four brothers with an 85-year-old mother. Each of us take turns every three months to pay for travel for her to come stay with one of us for two to three weeks.” —Lenford, Cape Town

He shared with us that this gives their mother a way to bond with all of them, plus her grandkids and great-grandkids.

As with any travel—whether it’s for a few hours or a few days—preparation is key. These tips can help you plan ahead to ensure an enjoyable trip for all parties involved, even your aging parents.

Write Notes and Letters

As our senior loved one’s old age begins to set in, their need for attention and care becomes much more acute.

Sherry of Akron shares how she and one of her elderly relatives who lives out of state write letters back and forth—it’s something they both enjoy doing.

Here are some tips for when you begin writing to your senior loved ones:

  • Write it by hand. Giving your message a personal touch can show your loved one how much you care. Plus, no one has your handwriting but you—it gives it a unique touch!
  • Make it neat. It’s important your loved one will be able to read the kind words your wrote them.
  • Make it personal. Let your creative side show with bright colors, drawings and other personal touches.

“The key is finding out what your loved one prefers and just do it. You and your loved one will be blessed from it.” —Sherry, Akron

Free Conversation-Starting Questions

No matter how you choose to stay in touch with your senior loved ones, consider downloading Busch’s Essential Guide to Meaningful Conversation for tips on how to start in-depth discussions with them. This guide is designed to help you engage in meaningful conversation with the people who matter most to you.New Call-to-action

Jim Busch
Jim Busch
Owner and president of our firm. Fourth generation funeral director and certified crematory operator, Jim is guided by his principles in faith, family and friends. He loves to hear feedback from our families. Proudly serving Busch families since 1986.
 

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