13 Ways to Connect With Others While Social Distancing

In these challenging, uncertain times, community can be an incredible source of strength. A little extra love and support can go a long way right now. 

We asked our staff and community for ways to support our loved ones and the general community in the midst of the coronavirus. Here are their ideas on how to stay connected and help out:

Tips to Stay Connected

Social distancing is recommended to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean anyone should feel isolated. Here are some tips to stay connected with your loved ones during self-quarantine:

1. Video Chat

Just because you may not be able to see your loved one in person, doesn’t mean you can’t see their lovely face!

Video chat apps like FaceTime and Skype allow you to connect with friends and family virtually. This can be a great way to get that “face to face” interaction while you’re apart.

Check out more free video chat apps to use during social distancing.

2. Pick Up the Phone

In addition to video chatting, a simple phone call can work wonders to help your loved one feel connected. Just hearing the sound of a family member or friend’s voice can be comforting.

Call them. Days are long without friends and family.”

Barbara B.

3. Start Group Chats

Keep up with family, friends, coworkers, or church groups no matter where you are through text or chat groups like Facebook messenger or WhatsApp. Group chats are a fun place to share funny pictures or videos, and send hopeful messages to keep spirits high. 

4. Lean on CaringBridge

CaringBridge is an online health journal which helps patients and family caregivers maintain social connections and coordinate support. The CaringBridge Journal lets users mass-update loved ones, and the Planner helps them coordinate care needs.

There are several ways you can use CaringBridge to connect with and help others:

    • If you know someone needing the support that comes from CaringBridge, please tell them about it. You can start a free site at any time.

Start a Site

  • If you’re following a CaringBridge Journal, now is a great time to leave a Comment or click the heart icon to show support.
  • If you’re a patient or caregiver writing on CaringBridge, let family and friends know how you’re feeling. A pandemic on top of what you have going on already adds stress. It’s OK to say that out loud. Ask for love, support, prayers, and practical help if you need it. Never underestimate how much people want to help.

How to Help Out

It’s so important to strengthen social connections in this time, but just as necessary to coordinate care and offer support for daily needs. Here are some ways you can help others while maintaining a safe distance:

5. Assist with Errands

Life doesn’t pause for anything, including an epidemic. In times like these, errands can become overwhelming, even more so when you’re ill or at-risk.

We all know someone who could use a little extra help – take some of these burdens off their plate. There are many chores you can do that are social distancing-friendly like mowing their lawn, bringing their mail up from the mailbox or pet-sitting.

6. Pick Up Prescriptions

If your loved one has prescriptions, help them out by stopping by their local pharmacy and dropping off their medication in their mailbox or on their doorstep. It’s a simple gesture that shows you care, and most importantly: keeps them healthy.

7. Bring Them the Essentials

Offer to help provide life’s daily needs. For example, you can order doorstep delivery of grocery and household essentials like paper products and cleaning supplies. Tip: You can use the CaringBridge Planner to help coordinate this.

We have home-bounds close to us that we will be calling and going to see about. We bought a few extra items so we will have some to share with them.”

Carol M.

8. Do Your Part to Stay Healthy

One of the best things you can do for high-risk individuals is to follow the health guidelines we’ve been given:

  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick or if you’re sick, and practice social distancing if COVID-19 is spreading in your community
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily

“I have two family members who are considered high-risk for COVID-19. I can’t say enough how much it means to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, but in reality much longer. It can make the difference between life and death.”

CaringBridge user Christin G., whose daughter, Delaney, was born prematurely, and whose son, Carson, had a heart transplant in 2017

“Our family is taking the coronavirus seriously. I have to restart chemo, which means weekly trips to the hospital and a weakened immune system for me. Just because you likely won’t die from this virus doesn’t make it fair to put others who might at risk. I need treatment, so all I can really do is be as careful as possible and pray for health.”

A CaringBridge user in the midst of treatment for breast cancer

9. Be Compassionate

Challenging times like these prove that we are far more similar to our neighbors than we are different. Remember to be kind to others, no matter what. We all need a little extra love in this time.

“People should always be very kind, loving, caring, and compassionate towards everybody while the coronavirus is going on, and also at any other time, too, no matter what day it is and no matter what is going on!”

Margie Vicki R.

10. Offer Financial Support

If you are able, offering financial support in this time can be an incredible and life-changing gift. If someone close to you is in need due to high medical bills, a lost job or any other reason, consider starting a fundraiser or offering a small donation of your own.

You can also provide monetary support by covering their utility bill for the month or filling up their car with gas in case of an emergency. In times of need, any support can make a difference.

11. Go Beyond the Basics

Having all the essentials covered is most important. But doing something to surprise and delight your loved one can be such a treat, for both of you. Here are a few ways you can go above and beyond to make your loved one’s day:

  • Order their favorite meal straight to their house
  • Send them a ‘thinking of you’ or ‘get well soon’ card
  • Have flowers delivered
  • Throw them a virtual “party” by getting all their special people in one video chat through Google Hangout or Zoom
  • Mail them a fun gift: a book by their favorite author, candle or fuzzy robe can bring a smile to their face

12. Share Your Faith

Faith may offer a source of comfort in trying times, and it’s something you can share whether you’re side by side or across the world. Try starting a prayer chain for someone who needs it, send over your favorite religious or inspirational quotes, or coordinate a call between them and their religious leader or faith group, if they have one.

“After you’ve been through cancer, you look at everything differently. If I could offer advice to any family today, it would be to stick by your faith. Know that your God is with you and will take care of you all the way through. Just enjoy every moment together.”

CaringBridge user Juan M., a paramedic, firefighter and dad of Jaxson, a cancer survivor

13. Be Patient

This situation can certainly be frustrating and anxiety-inducing, but a special way you can help is by displaying patience and positivity.

Help others reflect on the beautiful aspects of life they can be grateful for, and focus less on what they don’t have. Being a bright light for others will always yield support.

Remember, Every Day Is Precious

CaringBridge user Christin G. said it well: “This virus is creating new ways for everyone to think of how to keep your family and friends safe. We are in uncharted territory and we will all learn together. At one time we did not know how much time our family would have together. So I hope everyone will appreciate every day they have now.”

From the CaringBridge team to our community and beyond: stay safe, and stay connected. If you have any other tips on how to support others in this time, please comment your ideas below. We would love to include your feedback.

Comments (24)

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“T.K.” Cully Jun 10, 2020 12:06am
Alyssa Brigham, I didn’t know where else to write my answer to your question about my donation. Debbie Engstrom is a close friend of mine and she is a miracle from there. And now my dear friend, Kristen Hiatt, is there. Two mighty good reasons!
Adarsh Rawat May 24, 2020 12:24am
I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now, and I love your content and the lessons you share with your readers.
Marilyn May 07, 2020 9:46pm
Here's a little prayer from Max Lucado when feeling anxious: "Lord, there's an intruder at the door. Please take charge"
Jeannie Cecil May 03, 2020 11:16am
Good tips!
Mom Apr 22, 2020 10:27pm
What about hospital patients who haven’t had visitors in over a month and can’t communicate by phone/ video? These people need their families desperately. We need to know our loved ones are getting good care and to be advocates for them. They need emotional support and interaction/stimuli to aid their recovery. Closing down nationwide has gone too far.
Bill Wessner Apr 20, 2020 6:39pm
Bill Turner Apr 16, 2020 7:14am
I like #14, "Remember, Every Day is Precious." These are great ideas!
Frieda Polk Apr 14, 2020 2:46pm
I hope my sweet friend Kim Lankie is doing just Great!!!!!!!!!! She is an inspiration to her family and to many !! God Bless Her Always!!!!!!!
Ellen Donaldson Apr 14, 2020 10:32am
Wonderful ideas. Here's another. My Dad is in an assisted living facility and isolated in his apartment. We drop off weekly care packages containing new books, food treats, jigsaw puzzles and once even a souvenir from his world travels which he had stored at our house. We're fortunate that he is on the ground level so we can 'window visit' through the glass. We also put out bird food below his window so he can enjoy the antics of the birds. Just about every day he describes his little visitors and we figure out what kind they are. He has a Grandpad also so he can connect and video chat with his kids and grandkids and great-grandkids halfway across the country. They can also send him pictures and videos through the Grandpad.
Vicki House Apr 14, 2020 7:37am
Take a dog for a walk for someone who can't. Then feed the 🐱 🐱 left behind!
Barbara Hunt Apr 11, 2020 11:11pm
Thank you just reading this page has given me some renewed faith I am the mother of a c-5 quad been at this 18 years the past 2 years have taken a toll on me. Divorce lose of job an my health is having problems that I don't have time for mainly just tired. Don't know where to go from here so each day feels the same. So thank you for reminding me how precious each day is.
Pat Marklin Apr 09, 2020 11:26am
Is there an outdoor sitting area on the Memorial Hospital campus?
Kris Apr 08, 2020 12:00pm
Well, living close to camp Pendelton, our house shakes & the Windows rattle when they do maneuvers . So, when we had the earthquake, we just thought it was camp Pendelton. We were so surprised, to find out it was a quake, hope your having a good day. Sending you lots of love. Kris & john.
M Apr 07, 2020 11:53am
Even if you can’t do all the suggestions just doing what you can helps others. We need tomorrow try’syinket itgrrd knowvwe think if them♥️♥️♥️
Marywinn Lent Apr 07, 2020 8:07am
My husband and I believe that we need to share our faith in new ways during this pandemic. He is a veterinarian working not only to save pets, but to witness to their owners. I have been sharing my faith for these last several weeks on Facebook Live to the public, giving tips on how to homeschool when you never intended to do it, and encouraging families to make their child a leader in this perverse world. Be creative to come up with new ideas to share helpful tips with others, while sharing your faith in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sandra Powers Apr 06, 2020 2:01pm
Thank you. This helps us feel connected together at this tough time. Sandra
Georgiana (Porg) Andrus Apr 06, 2020 9:46am
My husband & I live in a building -4- 55 & older adults. We have 56 units here. A lot of widows & widowers. A few couples - where one of them have a lot of health issues, as my husband has also. I really like to bake. So, I bake something every week with purpose of sharing it with some of our neighbors. The response has been wonderful. I wrap it up in a little package, with a short note & leave it in front of their door. Trying to let people know- they are thought of & are not alone.
Charles Richardson Apr 06, 2020 8:44am
Great ideas for my group to consider.
Wendy Brandon Apr 06, 2020 7:32am
Hey Delallvans! How are ya'll, I know you are keeping isolated, but are you here in Fl or with the kids in Md?
Jane Pantoja Apr 04, 2020 12:47pm
Thank you! God is in control! We will get through this - I love the be compassionate and be patient ideas!
Doris Apr 02, 2020 8:29pm
Will Marquess I hope you're doing well. These are strange times and humbling. We just take too much for granted. The economy is our God at this time, but aahhh! In the blink of a eye, Life changed in the world over. We had to Stop and recognize that the economy contributed to this. We recognized how disrespectful and unloving we've treated the Earth. I miss not talking with you Will. Be well. Doris
Joyce Blosberg Apr 02, 2020 11:28am
Helpful advise.
Bettyruth Walter Apr 02, 2020 8:56am
Very helpful comments and suggestions. We can't be reminded too often. B. Walter
Barb Apr 02, 2020 7:51am
Awesome suggestions!