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Ways to connect with vulnerable loved ones

Personal interaction is important. It can improve our health and well-being to be with people we love and care about. As such, being unable to spend time with someone can be very upsetting, especially when he or she is ill or elderly.

However, even when you cannot be with someone in person, there are still many ways to stay connected.

  • Have regular video chats using apps like Zoom or Facetime.
  • Share messages and pictures through email.
  • Write letters or cards to send in the mail.
  • Drop off a treat or small gift, or have one delivered.
  • Host a virtual book club.
  • Point a camera at a board game like Scrabble or Monopoly and play each other.
  • Teach each other a new hobby.
  • Play music.
  • Put on a recital and either stream it or perform it outside his or her home.
  • Call each other and have virtual coffee breaks or happy hours.
  • Do a craft together.
  • Watch a movie or TV show together.

These suggestions allow people to share experiences and connect, even when they are not together. Keep in mind that there may be limitations, from a lack of access to technology to a person's unfamiliarity with it. However, even low-tech suggestions can help people feel close.

Benefits of connecting

Taking part in these activities can combat boredom and brighten a person’s day. These virtual connections can also help to ensure your loved one is safe and well.

By checking in by phone, video or email, you can identify any troubling situations.

For instance, you might be able to tell that your loved one is not well, scared or depressed. You might see that he or she needs more help with tasks like grooming, cleaning or getting around the house. You can answer questions for them and lift their spirits on a tough day.

And when your interactions are regular and frequent, you can better protect your loved one from neglect and abuse.

If you have a vulnerable parent, friend or family member, not being able to be by their side can be upsetting. However, by getting creative and reaching out in other ways, you can both enjoy the benefits of spending time together.

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