The circumstances of the past couple of months have hit senior living hard. Senior Living caters to a population that thrives on socioemotional support from caregivers and family. With visitor and social distancing restrictions, it can be hard to have in-person visits with families. A challenge that many communities are facing today is how to foster residents’ positive emotional well-being but also adhere to restrictions.

A study, “Family Involvement and Well-Being in Assisted Living,” published in the Seniors Housing and Care Journal, examined the quantity of contact and the quality of relationship with primary caregiver and assisted living residents’ emotional well-being. The study found that the quality of relationship better predicted well-being than the quantity of contact — good news in these times we find ourselves. The results of the study suggest the quality of family relationships has greater mental health benefits than the frequency of contact with family. In addition, family members can support strong relationships by engaging in socio-emotional support activities that promote emotional bonds such as reminiscing.

Below are some ideas for helping to create bonding experiences for families during restrictions:

Virtual Visits

  • Phone Calls –  just call to chat or share a funny story
  • Video Call Visits – see your loved one and catch up or do things together
  • Letters – revive pen pals

Share Life

  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Inspirational Quotes
  • Uplifting Stories

VIdeo Call Activities 

  • Share a Meal – plan a time to call and eat together
  • Play a Game – play Scattergories or Pictionary together
  • Gardening – each person has a different plant or window box
  • Crafting – choose a craft ahead of time like creating greeting cards
  • Baking – pick a recipe to make together
  • Scavenger Hunt – find something that is a certain color or begins with a specific letter and share it with one another
  • Storytelling – share made up stories or anecdotes from family members 
  • Read a Book – deliver a basket of books that you have duplicates for and choose one to read together (this is a great activity to do with younger grandchildren)
  • Dance Party – listen to music and dance (take turns being the DJ and picking the songs)

Activity Ideas for Families (these activities would have the individuals complete a task then have a follow-up conversation with family members)

  • Movie Night – take turns choosing a movie
  • Book Club – take turns choosing a book
  • Learning Club – take turns sending articles with interesting topics
  • Armchair Travel – watch YouTube video tours of famous cities and landmarks

We would love to hear some of your ideas! Share with us on social media – @lifesharetech on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn