How to stay connected with your loved ones this Christmas

There has never been a more significant time to focus on staying connected with our friends and families, as we head into the Christmas period, following a difficult year.

However, it is also important to note that, unfortunately, there is one group that has been affected more than most: our elderly.

Here at Crouched Friars Residential Home, our residents are our top priority and we have been working very hard throughout 2020 to keep them happy, motivated and connected to their loved ones using innovative technology and creative ways.

If you have elderly or vulnerable relatives that are in isolation, they don’t have to feel alone during this period. Below we share our key tips on how we have stayed connected and busy during the Coronavirus pandemic.

With Christmas and the New Year fast approaching, you could also use these ideas to help you celebrate with your loved ones in the best ways possible:

Supporting campaigns

Encouraging your loved ones to join initiatives to support the community during difficult times like this can be a great morale boost. For example, Clap for Carers proved to be so powerful, where people of all ages joined in to support the NHS where they could.

Here at Crouched Friars, we have joined in with Vamos Theatre’s ‘The Wednesday Wave’; a campaign to tackle pandemic loneliness and isolation.  Every Wednesday, from mid-October until mid-December we have been encouraging the community to join us for a wave at the window!

Anyone and everyone have been encouraged to wave along, wherever they see ‘The Wednesday Wave’ poster, or a hand drawing displayed, and we believe this has really kept us connected with the community.

Joining a pen pal scheme

There has never been a better time to have a pen pal, it’s an opportunity to get personal again – It really makes you feel connected to another person in a way that talking on the phone, texting, video calling, or even seeing them in person can’t achieve! It also proves to be a really fun and exciting activity when writing and reading letters from your pen pal.

This year, we have also been keeping our residents connected with young people during the coronavirus pandemic, by joining the YOPEY befriender letter-writing scheme.  

YOPEY, the young people of the year charity, traditionally runs befriending schemes where young people visit care homes but had to put these on hold during the coronavirus crisis.

However, despite visits stopping during lockdown, the charity and its young volunteers wanted to continue to support elderly care home residents at a time when they needed it the most, so decided to start a letter-writing scheme.

Creating and maintaining social connections with the younger generation is key to supporting the mental wellbeing of our residents and in turn, helps them to age well.

Sending letters to your loved one

There is no better way to show someone you care about them, than writing them a handwritten letter. You can always send an email to your relatives within a matter of seconds but isn’t it much sweeter and memorable to send a good old-fashioned letter to let them know you are thinking of them. Equally, handmade cards take the sentimental value to another level or two – you don’t have to be amazing at arts and crafts to produce a memorable card, it’s the thought that counts.

Here at Crouched Friars, we have really enjoyed reading and receiving letters and cards of encouragement from friends and family throughout the last year, and it has helped lift our resident’s spirits throughout this challenging time.

Care packages and gifts

Sending your loved one a care package, or a thoughtful gift, is a great way to show that they are in your thoughts. You can personalise this package in many different ways. For example, you could go for a treat package with chocolate, marshmallows and sweets. Again, it is the thought that counts, and it will be greatly appreciated by your elderly loved ones. When gathering items to include in your package or gift, sticking with local retailers and independent businesses, who are feeling the effects of lockdown more than most, is a great way to help your community.

At Crouched Friars during lockdown, we have really loved receiving some beautiful care packages and gifts from family and friends. We also celebrated Mother’s Day in the home during March and received some beautiful gifts and flowers. Our ladies had a wonderful day celebrating.

Arranging a video call

We are far better able to stay connected with each other remotely thanks to the power of technology. One of the best examples of this is with video calling. There are many popular platforms to do this, such as Skype or Zoom where you can connect with your relatives on a visual level, which is more personal than simply giving them a call on the phone.

We have utilised technology to enable our residents to speak to their loved ones regularly. Enabling our residents to see a loved one virtually has had huge beneficial effects to our residents mental and emotional wellbeing, and we are so proud to be able make this part of our daily schedule.

Here at Crouched Friars, it is our belief that a care home can be a truly positive experience. Whether your loved one needs round the clock nursing care or a little respite, our experienced team is here to deliver the highest standard of care in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Our door is always open with tea and biscuits at the ready, so if you want to take a tour of our beautiful home, contact us on 01359 230773 or email info@crouchedfriars.co.uk.

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