Connect Those Lines….of Communication
Busy, busy, hurry, hurry, rush, rush… and who often gets left in the shuffle? Senior adults! Maybe it’s a Mom, or a Dad, a friend, or other relative. Perhaps the senior adult is still in his/her own home; or in a retirement community, assisted living or continuing care. And just maybe our thinking is that they have people around them such as neighbors, friends, caregivers etc. ……so, they won’t be lonely. When in fact, what they would really like is to hear from a family member or friend. There are plenty of ways to do this; it just takes a little time.
The Telephone Line
Remember the rotary dial telephone? It took longer to dial the number than the length of time some conversations lasted. One also had to know the number being dialed. With technology improvements, we now have a phone that will dial with one click and once we’ve set up our contacts list, we don’t have a clue what the actual number is. We just punch a button.
Here’s what worked for me. I set up a ‘routine time’ to call Mom pretty much every day at 8:00pm. (It was more difficult for Dad to talk so that happened only occasionally). It became a habit for me and the folks looked forward to it. Even when they moved to a different location based on their health needs, the routine never changed.
As Mom’s health deteriorated, I connected with the Nurse Assistant prior to calling and she would go into Mom’s room to answer the phone and hold it as needed for Mom to hear. That was such a special time, especially since I did not live close by.
The Letter Line
My Grandmother Lucy and Great Aunt Lelia taught me the value of letter writing. I have yet to give it up even in this day of email and social media. I would still much rather receive a handwritten card or letter in the mail, but they are few and far between.
The importance of this was reinforced by the positive input from my parents especially as their health began to change. It didn’t have to be a long note… sometimes it was a letter, or something written inside a funny card. But it seemed to be a source of encouragement to them.
There is something about receiving a handwritten note.. I think it’s more personal; and it seems to mean so much more because someone had to take time to write it. Many senior adults will have computers and email will be a primary source of communication; but there are still as many senior adults who don’t. Mailing a personal note to them doesn’t take a lot of time and the cost is still less than 50 cents.
The “Techie” Line
So for those “techie” senior adults, there is advantage to having a computer since face to face communication can get set up utilizing a program such as SKYPE. Here’s what you need: a webcam so you can let people see you (optional as they say, for “bad hair” days), Internet connection, and a computer or mobile device with a microphone and speakers (or headset attached).
You can stay in touch at home, work or when traveling. The program is always available. You can choose to just use the basic plan (no charge) or add options with a fee. I have used this program to connect with my web guy at www.welldressedwalrus.com. Works great. I think it would be even more fun for senior adults to be able to connect with family and friends, but especially, grandkids. And it works both ways.
For those senior adults who don’t have a computer and who really aren’t interested in learning how to use one, the PRESTO Printing Mailbox and Presto Mail Service is something to consider. With this you can still email people who don’t have computers. In fact you can even send photos. The best part about it? The recipient doesn’t have to do a thing except remove the printed documents from the printer tray.
With so many different ways to communicate, especially if you’re unable to peronally visit as often as you’d like to, I hope you’ll consider some of these ideas. Until next time……
“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything” Mark Twain