2. Help them maintain wellness routines even if you can’t make it to therapy sessions
Listen to music! Try Spotify which has endless choices for music lovers as well as dozens of educational programming including an endless supply of Ted Talks. Another option is Pandora, which has stations for every taste, from showtunes to comedy. For the nostalgic, there are even 21 different kinds of oldies stations.
If you’re limiting visits to out-of-home therapists, there are safe, home health routines to adopt. Try light therapy with the BEACON40™, to enhance cognitive function and maintain brain health. These lamps deliver nurturing light that fades into the background while your loved ones go about their ordinary routines.
Schedules are extremely important. You can encourage your loved one to maintain a routine that helps establish healthier sleeping and eating habits by weaving yourself into their schedule. A quick call or text at a predictable bedtime or mealtime is excellent.
Think about meals and help with menu planning. Consider a delivery service for groceries or weekly takeout delivery. These are services you can arrange from your own phone. If your loved one is shopping, ask them to consider taking advantage of the early morning hours set aside for those most at risk. The store will be sanitized, the shelves will be stocked, and the crowds will be reduced.
3. Minimize stress
Encourage your loved ones to limit the time they’re spending watching potentially panic-inducing news cycles. Five to ten minutes a day is enough—or promise them you’ll give them important updates when you talk to them every day so they don’t have to worry they’re missing anything important. Think of other news you can talk about so it’s not just the pandemic all the time.
Pick a movie that you can both watch remotely, and then you can share your thoughts. Or check out your local library’s downloadable audio collection and listen to the same audiobook so you can discuss it.
Tell them not to fret over the small stuff. It’s OK if they can’t make it to their regular hairstylist or barber. Tell them funny stories from the internet of people working at home with needy dogs and annoyed cats, or business calls interrupted by toddlers, so they see we’re all in the same boat. Help them sort through upcoming appointments: which can be canceled? Which can be shifted to virtual visits?
If your loved one is part of a faith community, help them find ways to stay connected for normalcy and comfort. All sorts of services are streaming. Help them find one that’s right for them.
Above all, be there to listen. Fears and worries sometimes need to be heard more than they need to be addressed. Reassure, but don’t minimize. In these ways, you can be there for your loved one even when you’re separated.