Communication with seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic is very challenging. Since seniors are considered particularly high risk, as a group, they have been isolated more than other populations.
Here are some ideas for using modern technology to keep in touch with isolated seniors.
There’s nothing wrong with the old-fashioned telephone land line. Newer phones can be programmed ahead of time with all the regularly called numbers. Your senior relatives and friends can call you with one touch of a button.
Cell phones, tablets, and computers
If a senior has access to a cell phone or a tablet or computer, there are a lot of apps to choose from.
Video conferencing apps include FaceTime, Facebook messaging, Skype, and Zoom. An app called VOXER is like a walkie-talkie.
While these individual devices may have very sophisticated capabilities, it is possible to set them up to make their use easier.
There are also cell phones that are specifically designed for seniors and are very simple to operate.
Also, don’t lose sight of accessibility options for technical devices. Computers, tablets, and cell phones have many different things available on them to improve accessibility for those with any kind of handicap. You just have to look up “accessibility” on the particular device to see what is available.
It’s not hard to improve contrast for vision and un-clutter screens, for example.
There’s also old-fashioned letter writing. If you’re worried about germs, then just wash your hands thoroughly before writing your letter. Is there anyone who doesn’t still love to receive a hand-written letter?
A regular schedule of communication will make things much easier for everyone. If the senior knows when they can expect a call, that will relieve a lot of anxiety. You can use your own cell phone or laptop to set an alarm to remind you to call Grandma.
Family involvement with seniors and especially those seniors with dementia is clearly shown to have a positive effect. So, even though communication is more difficult now, we encourage keeping up with communication.
Take advantage of everything modern technology has to offer. And if a resident has difficulty with any of the above methods, a staff member can help them.
The Hamlets at Red Deer, located in Red Deer, Alberta, is at the forefront in the provision of services for those suffering from dementia in an assisted-living environment. The Hamlets at Red Deer has values based on tenets of Christianity and is committed to helping residents attain the highest physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.
If you have any questions about this article or would like to talk to us about our Red Deer community, please call us at (403) 986-1250.