One of the scariest parts about growing older can be anticipating loneliness. Sadly, a poll indicates that half a million people above the age of 60 normally spend every day alone. And nearly this amount again often goes five or six days a week without any human interaction, in person or on the phone. There are some fantastic schemes in place aiming to tackle the solitary lives of older people, such as Age UK’s Befriending Services; however, we understand that some may still feel isolated on contemplating moving into a residential care home. At Barchester we know how important it is for our residents to keep in touch with their friends and family, ensuring continuality from their previous lifestyle. For this reason, we have put together some useful tips to help residents keep in touch with their loved ones.
Of course, the best way to keep in touch with your loved ones it to arrange regular visits. Barchester always warmly welcomes visitors and we love seeing family and friends taking part in our activities and home events. It is a good idea to stick to a regular schedule for visiting, such as every other weekend, so that you can settle into a routine and have visits to look forward to.
For grandchildren, visiting a care home can be a confusing experience. We have put together free guides, which explain dementia to children through the medium of story. This is a great way to ensure that all family members feel comfortable when they make visits.
It can be difficult to arrange frequent visits when your family members live far away or lead very busy lives. Try not to be discouraged and instead be proactive. With older Brits being among the most internet-savvy across Europe, getting online can be one of the best ways to keep in touch with family and friends. Sending emails is much easier than writing hand-written letters, with no need to go to the Post Office and wait days for them to reach your recipient. Plus, your family members can attach photos so that you feel more connected with their day-to-day lives. Using video calling software such as Skype is not only free, but also allows you to chat face-to-face when a visit isn’t convenient.
However, we understand that not everyone is a computer whizz! And while getting online can be overwhelming for those who grew up in a very different environment, taking some basic IT lessons can help you to better stay in touch with your busy family members and enables independence. In the meantime, a phone call is always a good substitute!
Take part in care home life
Taking advantage of the meaningful activities available at Barchester homes is also a great way to keep busy and motivated while you are eagerly awaiting visits from your loved ones. Keeping a busy schedule allows residents to foster new friendships with staff and residents whom they see on a daily basis, too. It’s never too late to make new friends! Plus, keeping an active social life inside your residential home means you have more to share with relatives when they do visit or get in touch.