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Ideas for Staying Connected

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With limitations on in-person visits, residents, families, facility staff, Ombudsman programs, and other advocates have gotten creative in how they are staying connected.  Creating and maintaining connections – to family and friends, to members of the larger community, to other residents and facility staff and even to nature – is an essential component of good health and quality of life for residents. 

See below for ideas and activity suggestions for staying connected. 

Share your ideas and help expand the list! Do you have a suggestion for staying connected that is not listed here? Email info@theconsumervoice.org

 

 

 

It’s important to stay engaged and active while visitation is limited and activities are changed to accommodate safe physical distancing.  Enjoy the activities in this workbook to stay entertained, active and connected!

 

 

 

Staying Connected to Friends and Family

Using Technology

Using Technology

  • Video chat, FaceTime, text, and email with family and friends outside of the facility.
  • Set up Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime so residents can communicate with each other within the facility.
  • If facility staff assist in setting up equipment, request that they leave the resident's room, so socializing can be done privately.
  • If the resident doesn't know how to use the technology, ask local libraries or senior centers to provide training via phone call or video chat.
  • Ask family and friends to send short video greetings that residents can watch at any time. Residents can record videos to send in response.
  • Use the facility's Contact Us page on their website as a way to contact residents.
  • Set up a video chat or live stream where residents and family members can share best practices for communicating, keeping active, and self-care strategies.
  • Create a phone chain for family members and friends to call on a scheduled day to make sure the resident is getting daily phone calls.
  • Use the facility's social media channels to invite others to become pen pals with residents.

 

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Snail Mail

Snail Mail

  • Supply residents with pens, paper, envelopes and stamps to write letters or send cards to friends and family; encourage friends and family to write back.
  • Create a photo album of old and new pictures for residents.
  • Children can participate in the Maine Notes for Seniors initiative by writing notes, uploading a drawing, or sending a short video to residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
  • Send a care package to residents including photos, crossword puzzles, magazines or books, or snacks.

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Window Visits

Window Visits

  • Use outdoor visuals, such as tying ribbons around trees or benches, planting flowers, or hanging posters or banners, to show residents you're thinking about them. 
  • Meet through windows or arrange a time for a visit through a glass door.
  • Play tic-tac-toe through the window using soap.
  • Family councils can arrange a car parade.
  • If family members do resident laundry or deliver food, set up a drive-through system to exchange items without needing to enter the building.
  • Ask local musicians to perform outdoors.

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Staying Connected to Other Residents

Activities Inside the Facility

Activities Inside the Facility

  • Use the intercom system to play music or conduct sing-a-longs.
  • Use the intercom system or CCTV to "dedicate" songs or share anecdotes
  • Use the CCTV to communicate information and broadcast entertainment or exercise classes.
  • Engage from your doorway. Residents can sit in their doorways and play bingo, have a sing-a-long, exercise, or even have remote-controlled car races.
  • Set up pen pals within the facility, so residents can send letters to each other.

 

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Staying Connected to the Community

Accessing Online Media

Accessing Online Media

  • Share uplifting videos, music, or other links such as this YouTube video with residents.
  • Visit museums, libraries, or travel the world using these resources:
  • Live stream church services.
  • Send a virtual hello to brighten the day of residents who can't receive visitors by recording a short video and uploading it to this Facebook page.

 

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Staying Connected to Nature

Outdoor Activities

  • Designate an outdoor area for residents to enjoy sunshine and fresh air
  • Set up a socially distanced outdoor space for family and friends to visit with residents or use a see-through sheet or plastic wall to allow for safe visiting outdoors
  • Bring fresh plants into the facility to bring the outdoors in

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Additional Activity Ideas and Resources

Additional Activity Ideas and Resources

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