Are your kids’ Grandparents suffering lockdown loneliness?
So we are weeks (43 days!) into lockdown, and you (like me) might be a little fed up of babysitting your parent’s grandchildren ? Ssssh don’t tell them I said that! However if you do have older parents living alone you are probably also aware that the idea of lockdown and not being able to see you and your little bundles of joy/trouble is a tough break for them.
Here are 10 practical ideas to beat loneliness you could suggest to your parents. They are from a digital scrapbook company, (details at the end) but the basic idea is that you can stay connected with older members of your family and reduce feelings of loneliness, without physically being there.
All of these ideas would work just as well with any member of your family who is physically distant whether that is your kids Mum/Dad, Aunt or close friends.
1. Celebrate special occasions
Even during lockdown, special occasions deserve to be celebrated. Capture the experience of opening thoughtful gifts from your family and blowing out the candles on your cake and tell your grandchildren how much you love the drawing they created just for you.
2. Share recipes
Lockdown is a great time to unearth that closely guarded family recipe and share it with your loved ones. Why not invite them to have a go at making a batch and to upload a photo of the results? Of course, you’ll have to take their word for it about how tasty the final product is! Look for a digital scrapbook where you own and control the copyright, so that unique recipe can stay securely in the family for generations to come.
3. Capture your history
Even if they aren’t thinking about it now, your grandchildren will one day want to know about where they came from. You can create a wonderful gift to future generations by capturing your story. Dig out old photos, memorabilia and artifacts and take a walk down memory lane. Scan or photograph selected items and use them as a starting point to tell your story and capture your family history.
4. Grow something
The act of caring for something, be it a person, a plant or pet, causes your body to produce the hormone oxytocin, sometimes known as the ‘tend and befriend’ hormone, because it is the same hormone that’s released when you hug your loved ones and plays an important role in bonding. During this time of social distancing, when you can’t necessarily get an oxytocin boost from hugs, you can get it instead by tending your garden. You can increase this connection and care-giving further by uploading photos of your endeavours to your digital scrapbook and sharing the experience. Get your grandchildren involved by challenging them to grow something too – sunflowers are quick and easy for children to grow so why not find out who can grow the tallest one?
5. Get creative
Use your lockdown time to get creative; write a story or poem, knit, sew, paint, draw, sculpt, felt or use whatever method of creative expression speaks to you. Creative activity is known to reduce stress levels and can be a great way to express yourself. It doesn’t matter what your creative outlet of choice it, it can help to reduce anxiety and support your wellbeing. Use digital scrapbooking to share both your creative journey (“can you tell what it is yet?”) and your sense of accomplishment with the finished product.
6. Listen together
As well as images and words, use the opportunity to capture and share sounds and listen together with your family. You can use your digital scrapbook to record birdsong in your garden, a special message for a loved one or your favourite tune. Music encourages relaxation and can transform your mood, so why not upload a song that brings up happy memories to share with your family?
7. Unearth memories in your photo albums
Have you got piles of photo albums gathering dust or folders of digital photos buried somewhere on computer drives? If so, this is a great time to sort through them and unearth some special memories. Select a few photographs that represent important occasions and upload them to your digital scrapbook, adding a few words about what you remember. Relive the memories and bring a smile to the face of your loved ones.
8. Preserve letters
To compensate for the isolation of social distancing, there has been an increase in the numbers of people writing cards and letters to each other. If you have sent or received some letters during lockdown, why not preserve the most special ones in your digital scrapbook? If you haven’t done so already, try writing to your grandchildren and give them the experience of receiving exciting post – even better, let their parents know that special post is on its way so they can capture and share the moment the children open and read your precious words.
9. Laugh together
Laughter is known to decrease stress levels and boost the immune system – something we all need in these challenging times. Use your digital scrapbook to tell a funny family story and invite your family members to add their own hilarious memories, stories, photos and mementos.
10. Create a lockdown story
We’re currently living through an historical event so why not use this opportunity to create your lockdown story? Record the unique moments you are experiencing, from a video of you joining in with your street to Clap For Our Carers to sharing images of rainbows in windows spreading hope and happiness during this pandemic. Create lockdown stories that you and your family can look back on in times to come.
Storychest is an easy-to-use app that enables you to capture and store the precious moments of your life to privately share with your family, closest friends and generations to come. Unlike social media platforms, there is no advertising and your data is never shared, meaning you can create a treasure chest of memories that is totally secure. Even if you usually describe yourself as a technophobe, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised by how simply and easy it is to use.