11 Ways to Connect with Family When You Can’t Visit

Not being physically together with family members is hard. You may live in different areas or could be following social distancing recommendations. The good news is there are many online and offline ways to stay connected when not together.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the youngest and oldest members of your family could benefit the most from staying connected due to social distancing. By staying connected, you’re not only showing your support for your relatives, but helping them deal with the stress of needing to stay inside. We are all used to being around those we care about and without making an effort to connect, loved ones can feel thrown off their routine.

At Heritage of Sandy Plains, an assisted living and memory care community in beautiful Marietta, Georgia, we know just how important it is to feel engaged and connected with family. If you’re looking for more ways to stay in touch with those you care for, try a few of the following ways to stay connected with family members when you’re unable to visit.

1. Get Together for a Virtual Hangout

Virtual meetings have been around for years, but they are getting more popular since the coronavirus forced people to practice social distancing. Anytime you’re unable to actually see a friend or family member, a phone call may not feel like enough of a connection. Virtual meetings allow you to talk over your computer or smartphone face to face. Zoom, Facetime and similar applications are free to download and allow you to video chat with multiple friends and family members at the same time. Choose a time of day that works best for your family members and log onto your meeting to catch up.

2. Share Dinner Remotely

Eating meals together is a pastime that many family members miss when they are unable to get together. Just because you’re not in the same room doesn’t mean you can’t share the same meal. Email or message family members to pick a dinner night and decide on the menu together. Log onto a video call during dinnertime and chat with one another as you enjoy your family’s favorite dishes.

3. Stream a Spiritual Service

Connect with family by attending online spiritual services together. Houses of worship around the world are now streaming their religious services for all to enjoy from the comfort of their homes. Facebook is a popular site for churches to stream their services. Simply log on at the church’s set time and watch the broadcast live. If you happen to miss out on the live version, Facebook automatically generates a video that could be watched later.

4. Watch a Movie Together

Streaming services like Netflix have created a ‘Watch Party’ feature for family members and friends to convene. To use the feature, family members log on to a computer at the same time to watch the same movie. Chat is enabled to allow family and friends to discuss the movie in real-time with one another.

5. Enjoy a Wine Tasting Together

Virtual wine tastings are a fun way to get together and discuss different wine offerings. Although you and your family can plan your own pairings for the evenings, many winemakers are now hosting their own virtual wine tastings with recommended lists. For instance, Kendall-Jackson has an event schedule for virtual wine tastings with a theme for each night, like Chardonnay Night, which features three different Chardonnay styles that will be sampled.

6. Attend an Online Exercise or Skills Class 

Facebook and other online tools can be used to gather friends and family for a workout session. Many fitness instructors are using social media sites to broadcast different workout routines with their followers. Exercise isn’t the only type of class that can be done online either. Remote learning classes are not just for kids. All ages can enroll in a remote learning class that teaches a desirable skill.

7. Travel Together

National parks, museums and zoos all around the world have uploaded virtual tours of their locations. Many of the sites for these locations provide virtual guided tours free of charge that can be viewed at any time. Talk to one another about the best highlights at each of the destinations. You can even visit some of your past vacation spots to feel nostalgic about seeing some of your favorite areas once again. You can find a sampling of locations offering virtual tours here.

8. Go Low-Tech

Although many individuals are relying on technology to connect with family, you can also rediscover old traditions. Writing letters is a personal and thoughtful way to keep in touch with loved ones when you’re not physically together. Letters don’t have to be pages long either. Even a short handwritten postcard is very meaningful.

9. Pick a Craft Project to Do Together

Connect with family members by deciding on a craft project that you’re all comfortable doing. The craft project could be as simple as all drawing the same picture or choosing the same scarf pattern to knit. Once all family members are done with the project, share your final work through pictures or video. It will be interesting for family members to compare the unique aspects of one another’s work.

10. Share Nature’s Bounty

During the warmer weather months, you may enjoy gardening. Instead of keeping your bounty to yourself, consider sharing with family members as a way to feel connected. For family members close by, drop off any of your harvest for them to enjoy.

11. Choose a Book to Read Together

Book clubs don’t have to be held in-person. Ask family members to select a title to read at the same time. Set a timeframe to finish the book and then share your thoughts with one another. You can discuss the book on a conference call, video call, group chat or email.

Staying Connected at Heritage of Sandy Plains

Heritage of Sandy Plains is here for you when you’re looking for ways to stay connected while living at our warm and welcoming Georgia retirement community. Contact us today to find out more about what type of activities we offer and our numerous amenities for residents.