How to Stay in Touch with Older Family Members
As people get older, they’re more likely to experience social isolation, especially when they’re retired. Isolation can have a terrible impact on our mental health, leaving us feeling lonely, depressed and anxious. As your relatives get older, it’s important to make efforts to stay in touch and ensure they don’t end up feeling lonely and isolated.
Thankfully, our connected world makes it easier than ever to stay in touch, even over long distances. While your elderly relatives may have grown up in a time when long-distance communication was difficult, it’s now incredibly simple to instantly contact people from all over the world. There are many ways you can do this, though some will require more work and planning than others. Here’s a short guide to the different ways you can stay in touch with your older family members.
The telephone is probably one of the easiest ways to stay in touch with your relatives as it’s the one they’re going to be most used to using. In addition, most homes come with a landline already installed, so even if they’ve been replaced somewhat by mobiles, they’re still widely used. Your relatives likely won’t need any instructions or training to use the phone, and you can set up times for when you can talk on the phone.
If you don’t already have a landline phone installed, they’re pretty easy to install yourself. All you need is the phone and the telephone cable which will plug into the wall outlet. You can find quality telephone cables at RS, with a range of lengths available to suit your specific needs. Once plugged in, the phone should work, provided the house has a line rental set up.
If your relative finds it difficult to see which numbers they’re pressing, you can get phones that have large, easy-to-read buttons. In addition, modern phones can be programmed to call certain numbers using voice commands.
Arrange Regular Visits
If you live close to your elderly relatives, you should definitely make the effort to see them in person regularly. Try to schedule a consistent time when you can both meet up. That way, it’s easy to remember, and your relative will have something to look forward to. While speaking over the phone is great, it’s not quite the same as seeing someone’s face. From time to time, it’s good to see your relative in person.
When arranging visits, try to include your relatives in family events or take them to see and do things that they love. You can get them out of the house and help them have a fun time while stimulating their mind and keeping them healthy and active too. Think of activities and events they might love, and try to schedule doing them together so you can spend time with them.
Sometimes, it’s not possible to meet regularly in person due to distance. However, even if you live far away from your relatives, you can still see them regularly. Video calling is more accessible than ever, and it’s easy for even your elderly relatives to get into, even if they’re not used to using technology.
Most modern smartphones have the capacity for video calling through apps like WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime. You can purchase a basic smartphone for a pretty cheap price these days and ensure that your relative has a WiFi connection so they can call from home without incurring any charges. Alternatively, you could get them a tablet, which is often easier to use thanks to the larger screen increasing visibility.