Don’t underestimate the importance of socializing
First things first: reducing exposure to the virus is important but so is social contact.
Our health depends on many things and, while the threat of the virus is great at present, our longer-term health can suffer unless we have social interaction, mental stimulation, exercise, good nutrition, and all the other things that aid our wellbeing.
Let’s not forget that stress is one of the major causes of health problems in the modern world.
Our elderly loved ones are most at risk, of course. Many may feel lonely and isolated from the people they love most. They may be fearful of what’s around the corner.
They need our support at this time.
In order to raise their spirits, we need to make extra efforts to increase interactions, whether they are at home, in a care home or assisted living facility, or elsewhere.
Connecting the kids with the grandparents
Let’s use the technology available to stay connected this Easter.
Here are some simple ways to reach out and spend time together, depending on the level of technical awareness and proficiency amongst senior family members:
This one is the most obvious: the good ole video call.
Whatever you prefer to use – Skype, Facetime, Houseparty, Zoom – there are plenty of ways to connect via video apps.
These apps are simple to use and, if grandparents know their way around a computer, it should be easy to set them up with a little phone or email guidance.
Board games around the dining room table might be out but so many traditional games are available online – from card games to Monopoly, Risk, Yahtzee, and so on.
Virtually all of the games you can think of have an online version. You can set up a video chat and play like you’re sitting next to each other.
Now, this could be fun! Take the traditional Easter egg hunt online.
Each family member can create a game of different hints, with parents hiding the eggs around the house for the kids to find.
The kids will obviously love it but you might be surprised how much you and the senior members of the family might enjoy it too!
Another way to get all the family together online is to host a virtual dinner.
How about making the same dish in separate kitchens, cooking it together via video chat and then sitting down together at the same time to chat as you munch away?
You can watch the same movie together at the same time with the video/chat app open so that you can share thoughts while watching.
Netflix Party is another great way to do that.
We may not be able to go to the movies or snuggle up on the couch together but this is the next best thing.
Send homemade cards/letter
The older generations still love personalized cards and letters. Get your children to design Easter cards and include a short, handwritten letter.
That’s sure to put a big smile on their grandparents’ faces.
Drop off of a homecooked meal
If your travel regulations allow it, how about including elderly loved ones in the family Easter dinner by dropping off a meal curbside?
Your children can deliver it to the door and grandparents collect it – even contact from a distance can help raise the spirits.
Some local businesses in Calgary are offering home-delivered gourmet Easter dinner if cooking is not your strong suit.
Lastly: don’t forget to pop the question…
“Do you need anything?”
It’s a simple but important question to ask elderly individuals or couples living at home during this outbreak.
Some people may be ashamed to ask for help and don’t want to be a burden. They may be depriving themselves of important supplies such as food, medicines, or other necessities.
Be sure to check in often with them, ask the question, and see what they really need. You may have to force the issue a little to get an honest answer.
Rather than leaving it at “Do you need anything?” try following up with a few suggestions: “Can I get you some…?”
Their reactions to follow-up questions may tell you a lot.
Finally, your children may be confused about the quarantine measures and why they can’t visit grandpa and grandma.
Be sure to explain why it is important to keep a distance for the health of their grandparents.