My heart goes out to the family and friends of my residents that are so dedicated to their care and unable to see them during this time. At my facility, we have loved ones that usually visit daily and this abrupt change has been hard on everyone. I want you to know that you really are doing the best thing for your loved one by staying home and staying safe during this time. Nothing can replace in-person visitation, but my hope is that these tips give you ideas of ways to extend love to your family or friends and ease the separation during this time:
Know your loved one’s specific facility policies and protocols, which are quickly changing during this time. Our facility posts updates on our community Facebook page as well as sends letters out to families. Our activities department also distributes a monthly newsletter to all residents and emails it out to family members that have signed up for the email list.
Connect with their Care Team
If your facility has a receptionist, or an office clerk, that is always a good place to start. They can guide you on where to find updates and how to best reach your loved one’s care team. Even though we are all extremely busy at this time, connecting with your care team empowers us to best take care of your loved one and keeps you informed of their status.
Meal Delivery and Service
Depending on your loved one’s facility policy at this time, you may be able to drop off food items or order food into the facility from your loved one’s favorite restaurant with contact-less delivery options. Our facility previously allowed families to drop off homemade food, but now only allows non-perishable food to be dropped off then placed in a quarantine room for one week before given to their loved one. This ensures that any potential contact with the virus will not be brought into the facility. By working with the community’s nutrition services department, you may be able to make special requests or remotely complete a weekly or daily menu for your loved one.
Many facilities have put in place the opportunity to virtually visit with your loved one. This can be a great option for some! You and your loved one’s care team know your loved one best and can determine if this may be a valuable tool to utilize. For some residents it may not be comforting if it increases confusion and anxiety. Your social workers are a great resource for navigating this!
Write a Letter
It still makes my day when I get an “old fashioned” letter in the mail. I know that residents enjoy getting mail as well. Pictures, drawings, and others small items of inspiration go a long way!
Care for Yourself During This Time
If we are not taking care of our physical, mental, and spiritual health during this time we are at increased risk of burnout and getting sick ourselves. I know that this pandemic looks very different for everyone and that it is very stressful for most people, but find ways to take care of YOU, every day.