The restrictions put in place during lockdown have meant that many of us have learnt very rapidly how to keep in touch with loved ones over video calls. Whether it’s Zoom to Google Hangouts, families across the country are getting to grips with their preferred remote technology.
We’ve taken a look at how families could use video calling and other remote technology to try new activities with their loved ones.
Art class at a distance
In this month’s newsletter we hear from Wendy Thompson, whose mum is a resident at Baycroft Flitwick. Working closely with our activities coordinator, Wendy has been able to both call her mum and take part in activities – remotely, but together.
One activity that they’ve enjoyed is remote painting. Over a video call, Wendy and her mum are able to paint the same subject at the same time (in their case, flowers!).
If your loved one has a creative streak, why not give it a try? You could start with a rainbow for your window, or take after Wendy and paint the summer flowers.
Collaborative music playlists
Music has a special place in care, particularly for those with dementia or memory loss. Evidence suggests that musical training can slow cognitive decline, and that listening to familiar music can have a strong reaction even in those with memory difficulties. That’s why this year a campaign called Music for Dementia 2020 is calling for access to music for everybody living with dementia.
One way to bring music to loved ones is through a public playlist, which are easily made on Spotify. Think back over the years for any songs that have special meaning in a loved one’s life, or perhaps choose a selection from their favourite singer. You can edit the settings on the playlist to make it publicly available, or even make it a collaborative effort so that others can add to it too.
For many people, a pub quiz over Zoom has become a staple of lockdown life. Large group calls can be a little overwhelming, particularly for those who are hard of hearing, but why not try a version with just a few people? You could even alternate rounds, and have your family members think of some questions for you too.
The classic rounds of general knowledge and trivia often go down well, but you could also try a personalised round delving into family memories. If you’re able to use Zoom, try the screen sharing feature to show old family photographs – who’s in the photo, and where was it taken?
As we noted above, music has a special role in memory as well. Try a music round – playing through your video call, or perhaps played with a carer’s help.
Theatres and concert halls have gone quiet over lockdown, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t access the incredible talent in the creative world. From the National Theatre to the Royal Opera House, venues across the country are showing recordings of their past work.
You could tune in to a live recording at the same time as your loved one, and give them a call afterwards to talk about it. (A recorded concert might be a great option for those with limited sight).
Even if you don’t call afterwards, just knowing that you’re both watching the same thing at the same time can feel like a connection.
Of course, nothing can completely replicate the experience of seeing your loved ones in person. But the safety of our residents is our utmost priority, and until we can safely welcome visitors back to our homes we can make the most of the many ways to connect remotely.