Staying connected to loved ones in nursing homes

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Guidance on how to properly care for your loved ones as they navigate through the aging process

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Staying connected to loved ones in nursing homes

How is everyone staying in contact with their loved ones in nursing homes or assisted living facilities during this time of heightened separation?

 

Would love to hear some helpful tips on doing so. What mechanisms have you used, technologies, etc...?

 

 

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AARP Expert


@AARPMichaelP wrote:

How is everyone staying in contact with their loved ones in nursing homes or assisted living facilities during this time of heightened separation?

 

Would love to hear some helpful tips on doing so. What mechanisms have you used, technologies, etc...?

 

 


What's worked for us takes several steps:

1. Contribute in some way to getting food or coffee to the staff. In our small town, people give $100 at a time to the one drive through coffee spot and says, "this is for anyone with an ID that says they work at "Lakeview Gardens" which is our one long term care facility. Sometimes it helps to call the director of nursing and ask, can i order a bunch ofpizzas for your evening shift? By doing this kind of thing (even by dropping off a tin of cookies) you get known as a kind and helpful family member.

2. Get to know the regular shift folks who care for your loved one. The nursing assistants, as well as the activities instructor and the social services director. Ask either of the latter two about having someone hold a phone up to your loved one. Or, if you can send a tablet, emblazoned with his or her name on it (i always like to use nail polish to paint the name), and do a video visit. Then schedule a time with the aide or another staff member for a 10 minute visit. And see how often you can do that. 

3. Another idea is to use an old fashioned tape recorder and tapes, and record you singing their favorite hymns... something to comfort that has your voice in it. 

 

My thinking is that if the staff feel affirmed and supported by you, they will go the extra mile to help your family member feel connected. 

 

Jane

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AARP Expert

I saw a touching (heartbreaking, really) video of a veteran from D-Day receiving a pillow with his late wife's face on it. He's polite and smiling, then clutches it to his chest and starts to cry. He is deeply touched and the tears are of joy and sadness. 

 

While we can't hold our loved ones tight because they are in a nursing home or shut away in their homes, we can provide some comfort, and a pillow with a photo on it can be a sweet idea.

 

https://www.upworthy.com/94-year-old-widower-wife-pillow-reactionD Day widower.jpg

AARP Expert


@AARPMichaelP wrote:

How is everyone staying in contact with their loved ones in nursing homes or assisted living facilities during this time of heightened separation?

 

Would love to hear some helpful tips on doing so. What mechanisms have you used, technologies, etc...?

 

 


What's worked for us takes several steps:

1. Contribute in some way to getting food or coffee to the staff. In our small town, people give $100 at a time to the one drive through coffee spot and says, "this is for anyone with an ID that says they work at "Lakeview Gardens" which is our one long term care facility. Sometimes it helps to call the director of nursing and ask, can i order a bunch ofpizzas for your evening shift? By doing this kind of thing (even by dropping off a tin of cookies) you get known as a kind and helpful family member.

2. Get to know the regular shift folks who care for your loved one. The nursing assistants, as well as the activities instructor and the social services director. Ask either of the latter two about having someone hold a phone up to your loved one. Or, if you can send a tablet, emblazoned with his or her name on it (i always like to use nail polish to paint the name), and do a video visit. Then schedule a time with the aide or another staff member for a 10 minute visit. And see how often you can do that. 

3. Another idea is to use an old fashioned tape recorder and tapes, and record you singing their favorite hymns... something to comfort that has your voice in it. 

 

My thinking is that if the staff feel affirmed and supported by you, they will go the extra mile to help your family member feel connected. 

 

Jane

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