“I cannot visit my Mom, Dad, or Grandparent, what can I do?”

These are challenging days for everyone.  At a time in the lives of most First Generation (grandparent age) when family and community mean so much, they are forced to stay inside, separated for their own health.  The phrase “social distancing” has become popular. Instead of social distancing, we need to find ways to get closer while keeping our physical distance. Maybe you visit daily, weekly or monthly, but now you cannot be in the same space with them.

What are some ways that we can stay connected?

1. Make Daily phone calls. Brief daily phone calls are better than once in a while, especially now.

Get them to talk about their present circumstances:

  • What was the best thing that happened today?
  • What happened today that could have been better?

Volunteer what your struggles are and ask, “What would you do?”

Get them to tell a story about their childhood.

Get them to share how they got through challenges, i.e. Great Depression, loss, health issues, financial crisis.

2. Video Conferencing. Get them “hooked up” to FaceTime or Zoom.

Kids can show off to them.

They can see your faces.

Do a Zoom Family Reunion

3. Do window visits.

Have the kids, grandkids, or yourselves sing, dance, perform.

Show pictures, posters with Scripture hand written.

4. Focus on the future.

Plan an immediate event for when the “lockdown” is over.

Plan future events: vacations, family reunions, ballgame, graduation

5. Encourage them to:

Physical activity

Online worship/Bible study

Play games

Write their story

Spend time reading their Bible/doing devotional/quiet time

Find a “happy place” where they can relax away from 24-hour news and social media.

6. Be creative

These are just a few ways that you can help your older parents/grandparents/friends thrive during these challenging days.  Perhaps there might even be stronger relationships built as a result.

DennisWilbanks
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