The coronavirus is a merciless adversary. It has cut short millions of lives worldwide and it has robbed us all of our sense of safety and normalcy.
But when it forces you to isolate yourself from a loved one in need, that’s when it gets personal. That’s when it gets real.
The virus may have forced you to physically distance from your loved one for their own protection. That doesn’t mean, however, you can’t still be a comfort to them through whatever they’re going through. It just means that you’re going to need a little creativity and a lot of persistence.
Being There Without Being There
No doubt about it, we’re living through a particularly rough patch in human history. But we’re not without resources. And thanks to the wonders of technology today, we don’t have to risk exposing our loved one to the virus in order to be there for them.
Best of all, it doesn’t take a king’s ransom or an IT degree to use them. Thanks to platforms like Skype and Zoom, we can not only talk to our loved ones but also see them and be seen by them. No, it can’t replace a hug or a caress. But it can be the next best thing.
So get your tech on. Set up a time each day to have a phone call or video chat with your relative. Maybe even make it an event. Have your dear one’s favorite meal delivered and order yourself something from the same restaurant and sit down with them to a virtual dinner date.
The most important thing is ensuring that social distancing doesn’t lapse into social isolation. Studies show that loneliness is one of the greatest health hazards possible, as dangerous, in fact, as smoking 16 cigarettes a day! And that means that the dangers of isolation are real and they are significant.
But, even in lockdown, your loved ones don’t have to be alone. Even if you can’t physically be with them, you can not only support them at a distance, but you can also enlist the help of trained experts who can help fill the physical void. For instance, you might reach out to a licensed social worker or home healthcare specialist in your loved one’s area.
They can check in on your relative when you can’t, monitor for signs of distress, and connect you and your loved one to the resources they may need to thrive while in isolation. Best of all, because you’ll be working with a professional, you’ll have the reassurance of knowing that they have the training and resources to minimize the threat of viral exposure while still giving your loved one the face-to-face support they need.
Nurture and Nourish
If your dear one is battling a serious illness, such as cancer or dementia, they might have difficulty preparing healthy meals at home. And yet the pandemic doesn’t exactly make it safe for your loved one or a caregiver to go grocery shopping or even to pick up curbside.
Signing them up for a meal-kit delivery service can be a fantastic option. This is especially true if they have special dietary needs. You can even choose healthy heat-and-serve meals that can be eaten right out of the container. No prep and no clean-up!
When a loved one is sick, there are few better ways to show your love than to nourish them with healthy, healing, and comforting food.
A Helping Hand
Chances are, like most of us living under lockdown, if your loved one is working-age, they could be experiencing a reduction in their working hours, or even a furlough, because of the pandemic. If they’re also battling an illness, they’re also probably facing medical costs that their insurance doesn’t cover.
The reality is that medical expenses are the leading cause of bankruptcy in the US. And those statistics were compiled before Americans were faced with the tremendous financial strain of the pandemic.
So if you are in a position to do so, sending a gift card for cash to help ease some of the financial burdens can be a tremendous comfort. Even if you can only spare enough for a day’s worth of groceries or a small utility bill, that’s still going to be one less thing for your loved one to worry about. And it’s a beautiful reminder of how much you care.
No doubt about it: life under lockdown, especially if illness is forcing you to be especially vigilant about staying home and self-isolating, can be not only nerve-wracking but incredibly boring. So why not inject some entertainment into their day with a digital subscription to a favorite streaming service, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu?
If your loved one is a bookworm, a subscription to Kindle Unlimited, Audible, or Scribd can be ideal. Best of all, they can be used right on any smartphone, tablet, or computer, no special gadgets required.
Or if you have a music maven or podcast aficionado in the family, then you might look into a subscription to Pandora or Spotify or a gift card for iTunes. The possibilities are practically endless!
Caring and Sharing
The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to comfort a loved one under lockdown. Often the best gifts are the most thoughtful, so consider putting together a care package especially for your loved one.
Load it up with your loved one’s favorite things. Candles and lotions featuring their favorite scents. Comfy blankets and pillows in their favorite colors. Maybe even a cuddly stuffed animal or two. Packages of soothing teas, coffees, cookies, and crackers in their favorite flavors. Just make sure to wear gloves and practice impeccable hygiene as you handle these items, especially if your loved one is immuno-compromised.
Make It Personal
But don’t stop there. Get personal and take your loved one on a stroll down memory lane. You might put together a photo album or scrapbook of your favorite memories together.
If stories are more your loved one’s thing, then get a beautiful journal and write down by hand some of your favorite shared stories. But make sure to leave space after each so that they can add their own memories!!
And if you want to go for the Memory Lane trifecta of pictures, stories, and music, then put together a playlist of your loved one’s favorite tunes, movies, or television shows and upload these remotely to their digital devices.
The fact that you would put so much time, thought, and effort into making your loved one feel good in this difficult time will mean so much!
The pandemic might have taken away your chance to be with your loved one physically for a while. But being separate in body doesn’t mean being separate in heart, mind, and spirit.
And, thankfully, there are still countless ways to show your loved one you are still with them. From virtual dinner dates to personalized care packages to digital subscription services, there are still endless possibilities for pampering your loved one from afar.