How You Can Help Older Adults Stay Connected

Getting Started

Social-distancing rules mean we have to keep our distance from others. These rules help keep us safe. But they can also make us feel isolated. Being home all the time and away from friends and family can be hard for anyone. But it can be especially hard for older adults who live by themselves. Here are some ideas to help older adults stay connected.

  • Let them know you're thinking of them.

    Send them a letter in the mail, make a call, send a quick text message or email, or send them photos of what you're up to. No matter how you do it, they'll appreciate hearing from you.

  • Offer to help them set up video calling.

    Help them find a user-friendly app. Then walk them through setting it up and using it. Keep in mind that the app you recommend for them may not be the app that you usually use.

  • Encourage them to host their own virtual get-togethers.

    Ask them what they would normally do to connect. Maybe they've been part of a book club, regularly getting together for dinner, or gathering for game night. Or maybe they really like spending time with their grandkids. Try helping them organize these same things online.

  • Spend time outside.

    Try going for a socially distanced walk or sitting outside together. Fresh air and a change in scenery can give you space to see each other safely. And being outside can help break up the long stretches of being at home.

  • Ask them to share a story.

    Some older adults may enjoy reliving past experiences and having a chance to pass on some words of wisdom. You never know what you'll find in those old stories. You can share a story of your own too.

  • Start a conversation by asking what you can do to help.

    This gives you a chance to ask how they're doing and if they need anything. You might see if they need something from the store. Or maybe they could use help with yard work.

  • Create opportunities to share.

    If you like cooking and baking, make extra to share. Or try doing a book, movie, or game swap.

  • Ask them for advice.

    Older adults have a lot to teach others. Let them help you too. Ask them about their favorite recipes. Or ask them what's worked for them in dealing with the pandemic.

Credits

Current as of: November 11, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
JoLynn Montgomery PA - Family Medicine & Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine

How You Can Help Older Adults Stay Connected