Families using social media to stay connected with loved ones in nursing homes during pandemic

Families utilizing social media more and more to stay in touch with loved ones in nursing facilities

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - With a delay in Louisiana moving into Phase 3 of reopening, families will have to keep waiting to visit their loved ones in nursing homes.

“We depend on each other, we see each other, but’s not the same… it just isn’t,” said Ruth Sessions as she sits outside of her senior facility retirement home.

Sessions is 87-years-old and has been social distancing since the pandemic started, but now, she says that she’s tired of being isolated and away from her family.

“I’ve got a 3-year-old great niece who can’t understand why she can’t come running up to me and hug me, and she’s a very affectionate child and she wants to do that, and I want her to,” Sessions said.

Ruth Sessions terribly misses her family members while she remains quarantined in her senior facility retirement home.
Ruth Sessions terribly misses her family members while she remains quarantined in her senior facility retirement home. (Source: WAFB)

It’s difficult not being physically present for loved ones at a moment like this, but there may be a few things family members can do to still feel connected.

“Feelings don’t have an age, so a feeling has no idea what age a person is, so it doesn’t matter how old we are. We all feel in the same way, so staying connected and knowing that the people living in our community are such a valuable resource. They have great things to share and they have life experiences. If we take time to tap into that, we can make a difference for them, but also for ourselves,” said Shannon Ragusa, who specializes in geriatric counseling at Baton Rouge General.

Ragusa recommends daily phone calls and handwritten letters as a great way to lift up loved ones’ spirits. However, Sessions has taken the matter into her own hands by sharing her childhood stories on Facebook with her nieces and nephews.

“All they wanted to know was he gotten the snake tied up, but nobody wanted to touch it with a 10-foot pole,” Sessions said as she shares her favorite story of capturing a rattle snake.

Sessions says telling her stories allows her to stay in touch with her family even if she can’t physically see them all the time.

It’s the little things that can still make us feel connected even when we are far away.

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