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Staying Connected with Elderly Loved Ones During the Coronavirus Crisis

March 20, 2020

During the coronavirus crisis, people are being asked to socially distance themselves and limit contact with others.

Concern is especially high when a loved one is a resident of an assisted/independent living or skilled-nursing community. It is even being advised not to visit older loved ones in their homes. It’s not worth the risk of spreading disease.

“The best way you can show your love for someone is keeping your distance,” said Wendy Martinson, director of Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging.

It seems that when the world especially needs a hug, the new normal is “hands off.” To prevent the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus (COVID-19), there is no place like home. But being alone doesn’t mean people have to be lonely.

In this new norm of keeping social distance, staying connected with loved ones can be a combination of the new and old methods. Thanks to technology, communication is easier than it was just a decade ago. Yet the “old-fashioned” ways can bring variety and joy.

People can:

  • Be virtually connected through video chats, emails, texts and social media. Build a social network.
  • Send a note or card, a coloring or puzzle page to someone who may be housebound or in a restricted community.
  • Pick up the telephone – it is always reassuring to hear someone’s voice. Talk about concerns but share good news, too.
  • Use their time to take free courses through their local library websites, pursue a hobby, read or learn a new skill. Sharing these experiences – even starting a book club – with friends can create another point of connection.
  • Reach out to an older neighbor to see what he or she might need. Social loneliness is a huge societal problem and now people feel more isolated than ever.

Social distancing is a win for everyone. When this health crisis ends and people can be together again, continue to nurture these new, stronger relationships.

If you need assistance with care for an elderly loved one, call Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging, 1.877.4AGING1/ 1.877.424.4641.

Not feeling well? Call your healthcare provider for guidance and try to avoid going directly to an emergency department or urgent care center, as this could increase the chances of the disease spreading.

Click here to schedule a virtual visit with a Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent care doctor.

Stay with Hartford HealthCare for everything you need to know about the coronavirus threat. Click here for information updated daily.

Questions? Call our 24-hour hotline (860.972.8100 or, toll-free, 833.621.0600). 

Get text alerts by texting 31996 with COVID19 in the message field.