Corona and safe contact with your (old) parents or grand parents

Corona and safe contact with your (old) parents or grand parents

The British celebrated Mother’s Day already on March 22. In a column that was published at that time in The Sunday Times, the UK president, Boris Johnson called on the population not to visit elderly parents. “It’s the best way to show your mom that you love her,” suggested Johnson, who is now being treated for corona himself.

Her older friend (85) needs attention now. She is in a nursing home, her health is fragile and her husband passed away this year. But Eva no longer visits her friend. “The mere thought that I could infect her with the coronavirus is horrible.” While Eva’s girlfriend can definitely use her support. Eva normally visits her every week, they hold hands, hug and talk a lot. “I’ve known her incredibly long. We laugh a lot together. I like to be with her, she likes to be with me.”

But even before the advice to limit visits was issued, Eva already decided that it would be better not to visit her friend temporarily. Some corona cases were already known in the area where she lives in California.

“I called my girlfriend to tell her. I feel very healthy, but I would feel very guilty if I infected her. She laughed a little when I said it, but I think she understood.”

Corona and safe contact; no visits to vulnerable persons and people with reduced resistance. The government and specialists make a clear appeal in the fight against the corona virus. Vulnerable and elderly people are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

According to various elderly associations, it is ‘very intense’ for the elderly if they receive fewer visitors. “The fear of infecting someone is understandable, but it makes people sit alone for days”.

But how do we prevent our older relatives from getting lonely in times of corona? How can we keep our parents or grandparents safe and still stay in contact? Corona and safe contact, it’s a challenge, so you have to be creative. Here are some tips.

No visiting or less visiting?

For many elderly people, visiting children and / or grandchildren is the highlight of the week. But in the fight against the corona virus, “social distance”, or maybe better “physical distance” is the motto. That means: limit all unnecessary social contacts and no visits to vulnerable elderly people.

Call more often

If Grandma is used to a weekly visit that no longer is possible because of corona, make an appointment to call instead. For example, once or twice a day. For relatives of vulnarable older persons, it is best to coordinate this together. This can be done with a schedule, for example to agree who calls when.

Eva and her friend have now decided to call each other a lot. “Luckily she thought that was a good solution. She literally said: “Calling is also nice.” It was nice to hear each other’s voices. Even now we have laughed a lot. We may call each other more often than we saw each other. ”

Obviously, the telephone does not solve everything. It can never replace the physical contact of an arm around the shoulder. But it can contribute to a pleasant day and knowing that someone is thinking about you.

Keep seeing each other through a screen

Many elderly people are not yet skilled when it comes to using tablets or smartphones. Those devices offer great alternatives when regular visitors have to decline due to the corona virus. Think of the possibility to make video calls via a screen, so that grandparents can still see their children or grandchildren. This is possible with apps such as Skype, Facetime or the video option in, for example, Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger.

Play a game together, remotely

Many elderly people like to play (board) games, bridge together, enjoy an evening of bingo or cards. But that is also difficult if no visitors or volunteers are allowed. Even then tablets or smartphones can offer a solution. Many older people play the word game Wordfeud online, a kind of scrabble, with each other or (grand) children. During this game, a text message can also be sent via a chat function. Online bridging with others is possible as well as chess.

Pan of soup

Limiting visits to older people does not mean that we are no longer allowed to visit them at all. You can still ring the doorbell of your old neighbor or your grandmother with an old-fashioned pot of soup. Stay 6 foot away and don’t shake hands. And don’t forget to bring them their weekly groceries!


Also a nice idea in times of less visitors: just send the elderly a traditionial card again. Or a beautiful drawing or letter from the grandchildren. Tip: take a look at A digital card that only needs to be opened and still can contain a strong and lovely personal message that can be watched over and over again.

Corona and safe contact

It is very important to do everything possible not to let the contact water down as visits become more difficult. We will have to look for the new normal, new ways of contact in the six foot society.

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