Your parents seem incredibly fulfilled, as they’re embracing community living in a place like Briarwood. At an intuitive level, your mind is at ease because you know they have regular access to assorted support systems, like medical assistance and a healthy social schedule. Actually, on Mom and Dad’s end, the landscape looks rather rosy. However, on your end, there’s a bit of longing, guilt, and feelings of loss due to the many miles between you.
Naturally, few things can take the place of being face to face with a loved one. Still, there are ways to bridge the gap and help you feel closer. Here’s a creative twist on communicating with aging parents from a distance.
Tactics for Communicating with Aging Parents From a Distance
Many individuals text updates to family and friends, assuming their cell phones possess the capability to transmit the limited messages. Intermittent texts are a great way to remain linked to your parents. Moreover, if your phone has camera capacity, you can attach pictures or short videos to help everyone seem nearer. Maybe you’re thinking about purchasing a nifty new tool set and wish Dad could accompany you because you value his opinion? There’s an easy solution: take a picture of the item, attach it to the text, and ask him what he thinks. You can even get your children or other relatives to send periodic texts. It’s a fast and easy way to check in and see how your parents are doing.
Emails are a bit more formal than texts, as there is no need to condense words into a limited number of characters. Because of this, you can convey a lot of information in one message. For example, if you got a job promotion and want to share the fantastic news with your parents, you’ll have plenty of room to describe all the wonderful details. At the same time, if something is troubling you about a colleague or friend and you need to get the situation off of your chest, you’ll have sufficient space to explain how you feel. Without a doubt, emails are convenient, as you can say as much or as little as you want, and the communication is delivered immediately.
Letters or Cards
Some folks want to conserve on paper or perhaps feel emails are effortless to construct; accordingly, that is the communication method they prefer. Others think that letter writing is a lost art and believe the practice should be more fully revived, so they reach out via snail mail. Clearly, there is no “one size fits all” way to keep in touch. A thought? Maybe change up your contact comfort zone every now and then. For example, if email is your choice methodology, use that as the default but occasionally write notes. If you favor longhand writing, mail letters but submit emails from time to time. Ostensibly, variety adds spice to life and keeps many things feeling fresh. If you’re unable to visit for a big occasion, such as a birthday or holiday, sending a handwritten card in the mail could be a great way to bring a smile to Mom or Dad’s face.
Certain individuals can talk on the phone frequently and even for hours, while others avoid calls at almost any cost. Whether you like telephone communication or not, it seems reasonable to assert that you will use it at some point. A strategy that seems to work for some families living at a distance? Set a designated time, such as Sundays evenings, to call and catch up. Naturally, this plan does not negate weekday calls, but it can be nice to establish a preset schedule, as it gives senior parents and adult children a treat to look forward to.
Communicating with aging parents from a distance could be a difficult task if you’re only periodically on the phone, so why not give video a try? Some things are easier shown rather than described. While it may be nice to simply hear your loved ones, there’s nothing like seeing them in action. FaceTime and Skype are popular, user-friendly video chatting tools that are easily accessible. Did you just go shopping and you’d like to show your mom or dad what you bought? Or, maybe they want to show you their favorite parts of the Briarwood lifestyle, like their friends or the staff? Now you can put a face to the name. Regardless of how frequently you’re able to visit, you’ll know they’re in good hands in our community living when you see them on screen.
Technology has made communicating with aging parents from a distance much easier, but it’s important to remember that it can’t replace in-person visits. Or, if you’re thinking about community living for yourself, get a taste of the Briarwood lifestyle — literally! We invite you to set up an appointment with us, have a dinner on the house, and meet our staff. Experience the culture that your parents live everyday. And if you were to decide that Briarwood is the right place to live out your retired years, you won’t have to worry about communicating with your aging parents from a distance.