Staying Connected, Even When You’re Apart

When you make the transition to a senior living community, staying connected with family members can feel a little more difficult. With the technology available today, however, there are many convenient ways to stay connected to your family even from across the country. Looking to build stronger long-distance relationships with your loved ones? Here are some simple ideas to get your started.

Virtual Family Dinner

There’s no better place to start a conversation than around the dinner table. Why not try planning a virtual family dinner? While there are many options available to connect virtual attendees, it is best to start simple – all you really need is a smart phone or tablet and a connection to the internet. (In a previous blog post, we put together this helpful guide to technology for seniors.)

To plan your family dinner, start with a recipe or theme to let everyone know what to prepare. At a pre-planned time, have everyone log into the video chat (try FaceTime or Zoom) and enjoy your virtual family dinner together. You might find that sharing a smile and a meal becomes your new favorite monthly (or even weekly) tradition.

Online Games

Lots of games, such as Words with Friends, can easily be downloaded and played on your smart phone. Once you send a virtual invitation to your loved one, you’re ready to start playing together! Playing games together is a great way to share a laugh.

Family Group Chat

Want to keep everyone in on the conversation? A group chat is the perfect way to stay connected with the entire family across different time zones. There are several great options, from a simple text group on your phone to a Facebook Messenger group. Keep everyone in on the action with a fun question of the week. If you need help getting started, reach out and ask someone else in the family to set up the group for you. Once they’ve added all the members, you’re good to go. Technology and social media can be used to stay connected in so many different ways. All it takes is a little planning and creativity!

Put it on the Calendar

In the hustle and bustle of daily life for many families, it can be easy for a planned phone call to slip through the cracks.  That’s why it’s a great idea to schedule phone calls (and video chats) on the calendar just as you would with an in-person meeting. Setting up a time to talk each week is a wonderful way to build connection with loved ones into your routine.

Read a Book Together

Another great way to stay connected is to read a book or watch a TV show together – virtually! Pick a book or show and choose how many chapters to read (or episodes to watch) each week. Then, at a pre-set time, get on the phone and share your thoughts. Check the back of the book for discussion questions, as many have a book club guide to get you started.

Snail Mail

In a world dominated by the internet, letter writing can feel like a lost art. A good letter goes beyond just asking, “How are you?” It’s the perfect place to share stories, recipes and jokes. You can even tuck small items into the envelope such as stickers, photographs or bookmarks.

To keep the back-and-forth going, ask questions such as “What would your perfect day be like?” or “What’s the most exciting thing that happened to you this week?” You might be surprised at the conversations you can spark through snail mail. Whatever you choose to send, it will be a lovely and unexpected surprise for your recipient.

No matter how you choose to stay connected with your loved ones, having a sense of community is an important part of life. At Advent Christian Living, we offer a strong spirit of community where residents care for one another and independence is encouraged to live life fully, every day. If you are looking for a meaningful senior life before and during retirement, Advent Christian Village may be just the place. Come and see for yourself. We’d love to show you around. Contact us today to schedule a tour!

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