Festive Ideas to Consider for Your Next Virtual Visit

Published: December 1, 2020

When an older loved one lives in an assisted living community, visiting regularly is an important way to stay connected and show how much you care. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, visits have transitioned from in-person to virtual in recent months, causing some people to feel awkward or uncomfortable.

As we transition into the holiday season, many residents in assisted living facilities, as well as their visitors, may not know what to do or say during a virtual visit. Undoubtedly, family traditions will look and feel different this year. However, older adults in assisted living will still feel loved and included when you find ways to bring the holiday spirit to them virtually, even if it means creating new traditions.

Having some ideas in mind before your virtual visit and bringing activities with you can help to make the experience fun and positive.

Here are a few festive activity suggestions and ideas to try:

1. Keep them connected with family
Seniors residing in assisted living may get lonely during these uncertain times because they have so little contact with their family. Use this as an opportunity to reach out to family members who live far away, who may not have traditionally been involved in holiday gatherings. Technology can help to facilitate togetherness regardless of the physical distance that may separate everyone, and time spent with family is time well spent.

2. Enjoy music together
Virtual visits don't have to be limited to conversations. Play an old song to reminisce over memories from younger days; music is a great mood booster that increases happiness and engagement. If you’re not sure they’re enjoying the music, watch their body language for clues. If they seem agitated, switch to something more soothing, lower the sound or switch to a different activity.

3. Reminisce over old photos
With more time spent at home, many people have taken an opportunity to clean and organize their house. If you recently ran across a box full of memories while searching for decorations, share these photos with your older loved one. Photos are great conversation starters, and a wonderful way to open the door to learn more about your family tree.

4. Work on a project together
If you prepare ahead of time, you can send your older adult a "pre-call care package" filled with craft supplies, a snack or a puzzle. During your virtual visit, work on a puzzle or craft project together. If you cannot spend a long time together in one sitting, store your project or puzzle under a piece of furniture, and continue to work on it together over the next few visits.

5. Encourage children to read aloud
Reading aloud is a great way to let different generations connect without having to make a lot of conversation. Allow your children to develop excellent reading skills while bonding with their older family member through this joyful experience.

6. Eat a meal together
In today's climate, many restaurants are offering delivery services/options. Whether you live close by or far away from your loved one in assisted living, you can likely use online resources to arrange a delivery of their favorite meal from their favorite restaurant. Schedule your call during dinnertime and set up your device at your table. This way, you can enjoy a meal together and remember all the wonderful memories from past family gatherings.

While holiday traditions may be different this year, this does not mean the end of good times. There are many ways to celebrate the holiday season with your loved one in assisted living through the use of technology and a little creative planning.