This morning my state’s stay at home order goes into effect. But also, this morning I hear the birds chirping and the sun shining. Both things are true in my life today. I choose to focus on the birds and other signs of spring occurring naturally in my world. When I choose to focus on the positive, I know I’m better able to cope with challenges I face.

I visualize your loved one’s caregiver in the assisted living facility talking to your loved one about the birds chirping. Or maybe they will play favorite music while your loved one eats lunch in their room. These small acts of kindness come naturally to caregivers in all shapes and sizes and locations.

Imagine the joy your loved one feels when they open a handwritten card from a family friend. Or the peace that comes after a phone call with a grandchild. If your loved one feels socially isolated, contact family and friends and let them know. Suggest simple ways they can make a positive difference for your loved one today. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your loved one in these simple ways.

When you communicate with your loved one give them a cheery message. Share a story about what you’re doing today to take care of yourself. They will feel better knowing that you are OK. Ask about the details of their day. Who is their caregiver? What are they wearing today? Make normal conversation without spreading the bad news of the world.

If you can only “talk” to your loved one through a staff member, remember these tips:
1. Ask them to relay your message of love and care.

2. Tell them one specific simple thing that would make your loved one’s day. This could be a favorite song or the fact they like 1 sugar and a little milk in their tea. This helps caregivers add those personalized touches to their care.

3. Always end the call with appreciation to them as a caregiver. Thank them for everything they are already doing to make your loved one’s day a gift of life.