Writing letters is a wonderful art. But it is insufficient by itself as
a means of keeping in touch with your adult children living at a
distance. Three-fourths of seniors talk on the phone with adult children at least weekly. Ask your children to telephone you at set times during the week. Make telephone time pleasant and informative. Instead of complaining about your neighbor's cat digging in your garden, assure your children that you are well and appreciate their call. Resist the temptation to talk at length about people they do not know and in whom they have no interest. But do tell them about health and living problems and successes, and be open to any suggestions. They will be happy to be involved. If there are serious health problems, ask your children to get a briefing by telephone directly from your doctor. Give them the number and the best time to talk with the doctor. This applies to your main caregivers whether or not they are your children.
As older adults become increasingly homebound, a day when the telephone does not ring can cause loneliness. Call friends often to have short conversations. It will nurture the friendship, ease depression, and be a benefit for all concerned. Also, these communication routines will serve as a way of alerting others to a potential problem. When friends call and offer to help, make a note for the future if you cannot think of any immediate need. Later, call them and say, "Thank you for offering to help the other day. Now I do have a request. Tell me if you cannot do it."