While these do not replace the opportunity to be with senior companions in person, there are steps that can help support them.
Tips that include use of technology by virtual volunteers
Call or video conference with your senior companions as scheduled . Also, consider your senior companions stamina and comfort level with the communication method you use. Virtual time together can be passive, too. Knowing that you are there can be helpful. Spend time virtually with activities you would do together such as watching TV, reading the newspaper, or listening to their favorite music.
Enjoy a virtual meal together. Connecting during mealtime may be a great opportunity to help seniors feel less lonely.
Consider topics to discuss or do in advance if conversation wanes. Discuss a favorite book or TV show, or update positive news about Covid.
Engage his /family ( Including children and people he /she is fond of) . Create a schedule to keep up virtual visits example "every Friday 4 pm.".
Tips that do not include use of technology by volunteer ( face to face visits)
Encourage your senior companion to avoid focusing too much on COVID-19 news, especially if they are experiencing a lot of anxiety. When watching the news, focus on the positive stories that highlight our community resilience and generous spirits.
Provide a care package and resources for activities that your senior companion enjoy. For example, books, yarn, puzzles, crosswords, games, grownup coloring books, paints, stress balls, music, favorite foods, movies, cards, plants, craft kits.
Send mail. Include children’s art or other pictures. Engage your senior companion members to send letters and cards to their loved ones.
Stress can add up. Help to address other worries that your loved one may be thinking about (e.g. financial, health, family) and share it with their close family in consent.
Nature is a natural stress buffer and certainly will help our seniors. For those whom it is allowed, facilitate and support visits to an outside space daily or as frequently as possible. CDC guidance advises limited time out of rooms, but it does not prohibit all movement and outside time for residents who are asymptomatic. Even pictures of nature can be calming. Bring in plants and pictures of nature into residents living quarters if the resident is willing.
We are gathering a list of resources by getting help from other organizations that need to support the mental well-being for our senior community, such as technology, care package supplies, plants and cards etc.