Most grandparents enjoy to spend time with their grandchildren, whether it’s playing a game, going to the park or attending family gatherings. Unfortunately for many seniors, social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic have made those special moments fewer and farther between.

As a result, your aging parents may be feeling a little lonely and down in the dumps right now.  Fortunately, there are several creative ways to keep them connected with their grandchildren without placing anyone’s health at risk. 

Health Problems Linked to Social Isolation 

Millions of seniors live alone or take care of an ill spouse- either of which can put a damper on their social lives. Toss in a game-changer like COVID-19 and you’ve got a recipe for social isolation and loneliness.

Researchers have linked extended periods of social isolation to these health problems in the elderly:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Weakened immune system
  • Obesity
  • Cognitive decline
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Shorter life span

On the other hand, grandchildren can be a life-changing source of comfort and support for grandparents- one that also helps keep their elders active and independent. These are good reasons to look for ways for them to safely spend time with their grandparents.

Keeping the Lines of Communication Open  

Since COVID-19 is more dangerous for those aged 65+ the CDC recommends that seniors avoid mixing with others as much as possible, including younger family members.

Fortunately, there are still many online and offline ways for grandparents to safely spend time with their grandchildren:

Offline 

If mom and dad aren’t very tech-savvy these activities don’t require a computer:

  • Meet in a public place. While standing at least six feet apart have the kids meet up with their grandparents at a park or other outdoor public area. Or, do a drive-by with the kids as your parents are sitting outside so that you all can see one another. 
  • Send care packages. Have your kids put some drawings or crafts they’ve made in a box and drop it off at your parents’ place. Grandparents can send care packages filled with home-made cookies, books or toys that they’ve kept from the past. 
  • Handwritten letters. Mail handwritten letters to mom and dad from the kids. Not only will they like receiving those instead of another bill or ad, the letters will give your children a chance to practice handwriting.
  • Phone calls. In today’s high-tech world sometimes an old-fashioned phone call involving all your loved ones is a great source of comfort and reassurance. 

Online

Use a video chat service like Facetime, Google Hangout or Skype to schedule online activities like:

  • Story sharing