It's all too easy to lose touch with people these days, even the people you love the most. Busy lives lead to your missing friends and family and not connecting with others. If someone you love has entered a nursing home, don't lose touch. Not only do they need you to make their lives complete, but you need them more than you know. Here's how to stay connected in fun and family-oriented ways.
1. Do Their Laundry
It doesn't matter whether the nursing home your loved one is at has laundry facilities on site: go ahead and pick up the clothes once or twice a month. This is a great reason for stopping by; you can use extra softener in the rinse cycle and leave sweet little notes or favorite candies in the pockets of the clothes. Thoughtful touches like that will mean a lot to your loved one and will give you a wonderful feeling of having made their days more enjoyable and closer to family.
2. Bring Leftover Meals
Some foods, such as lasagna or meatloaf, simply taste better as leftovers. Stop by the nursing home or assisted-living facility around lunch time and ask the nursing staff to warm up the meal. It will be a delicious, heart-warming taste of home, and you can just sit, relax, and enjoy the company as your loved one partakes of the homemade fixin's.
3. Ask for Their Opinions
Whether you're buying new winter boots or a brand-new car, you need the input of people who are looking out for your best interests. Why not stop by the nursing home and see what they think? Your loved one may have some words of wisdom for you that can only come from someone who has been around for a while, but asking for their advice also a great way to make them feel important. Ask what they think of your choices and don't forget to follow up by telling them later which choice you opted for. Send a quick pic of those new boots or take your loved one out for a spin in the new car!
4. Send Hand-Written Letters and Kids' Art
Many people from the older generation are not computer literate and really don't appreciate electronic forms of affection. Send a note, even something brief or whimsical, and it will be appreciated more than you can imagine. Also, if there are young kids in the family, ask them to create something for Grandma, Grandpa, or whoever the relative at the nursing home is; there's really nothing like a drawing or coloring from children to connect with loved ones living apart.
5. Bring the Family Pet
A lot of nursing facilities will allow you to bring along a well-behaved pet. Just check beforehand with a supervisor to make sure. Your loved one, along with nearly everyone else you encounter, is going to enjoy seeing the family pooch or feline. Studies show that animal visitors can be healthy for people in nursing homes, so don't hesitate to stop in with one when you visit. It should also be a lot of fun for the animal.
Don't let your loved one be like other people in your life you lose touch with after they move away. Family ties are just too important, and it's these connections that really make life more worthwhile for everyone—including you!