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1. Help them stay connected with family

Seniors living in a care community can get lonely because they have so little contact with family. To keep them in touch with family members, you could:

- Bring visitors – especially children, teens, or someone who might feel too awkward to visit alone

- Arrange video chats or phone calls so they also have a chance to virtually visit

- Encourage a young child to bring something for “show and tell” so they can share something they’re excited about

- Share videos or photos of the kids’ activities (video of a soccer game, school play, etc)

- When possible, include your older adult in family celebrations


2. Enjoy music together

Music has a universal ability to boost mood, reduce agitation, and increase happiness and engagement. Music is also an ideal activity when your older adult isn’t well or has reached a stage of their illness where they can only lie in bed. Soft music is calming, comforting, and something you can still do together. 


3. Reminisce over old photos

Looking over old photos or videos is a great way to spend time together and strengthen your bond.

You never know what stories or memories your older adult will be inspired to share. Photos are also a great conversation starters.


4. Bring a furry friend along

Research has found that spending time playing with animals lowers heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels. And in the long term, interacting with a pet can even lower cholesterol, prevent depression, and protect against heart disease and stroke. But before you bring a pet, check with the care community to make sure furry visitors are allowed.


5. Eat a meal or snack together

We all enjoy companionship when we eat. Whether you join them in their community dining room or take them out to a restaurant, sharing a meal is another way to bond with your older adult.


6. Get some fresh air

You can also use the opportunity to help your older adult get some fresh air and exercise. Instead of staying in their room, take them outside to the courtyard or garden. That could mean walking slowly and supporting them as needed or pushing their wheelchair.


7. Take them on short outings

Going out can be a treat for someone living in a nursing home or assisted living. They might enjoy going to religious services, the hair salon, a drugstore, the shopping mall, eating at favorite restaurants, getting some ice cream, or taking a scenic drive. Offering two options is often helpful – shall we take a walk in the park or visit the ice cream shop?


8. Give a massage or manicure

Many people in nursing homes and assisted living would benefit from the therapeutic effects of touch. You could bring some lightly scented lotion and give them a gentle hand massage or bring some tools and give them a manicure. Women may even enjoy some nail polish. Consider giving a gentle massage while they sit in their usual chair. Use a very light touch (senior skin and muscles may be fragile) and massage their neck, shoulders, back, and arms – wherever you can reach.


9. Read aloud

Another fantastic activity is reading aloud. It’s a great way to connect and let them know how much you care without having to make a lot of conversation. Reading aloud is especially good for older adults who are bed-bound, not very responsive due to an advanced health condition, or those with vision impairments. 

10. Watch a TV show or movie

Watching TV or a movie is something we often do with friends and family – why not do it with your older adult? It’s another way to spend time together without feeling so much pressure to make conversation. 

Original article on Daily Caring .com

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