It’s a difficult time for many as we all face social distancing and self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are no longer able to gather in groups over 10, and we’re encouraged to maintain a six-foot distance between us and other individuals. For those living in senior living facilities, nursing homes, and other senior housing options, this can be incredibly difficult. Because they are considered an at-risk population, leaving their homes is highly discouraged. Older adults may be missing their family and friends and feeling especially vulnerable right now. Remaining socially distant is important, but it’s equally important to find ways to mentally and emotionally connect with loved ones.
Regular check-ins are crucial right now, especially in vulnerable populations like older adults. If you’re an older adult yourself, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends and call your children and grandkids when you’re feeling lonely. Phone calls and video chats are the perfect way to stay in touch. Thank goodness for FaceTime, Zoom, and Skype! Consider scheduling regular family chats—some video chat services allow you to add multiple members to the video chat—to stay updated. This is an especially great way to connect with grandchildren. You can even read them a story or play a board game and it’ll be just like you’re in the same room. If you aren’t well-suited to technology, handwritten letters and postcards do the trick.
Did you have a whole bunch of activities planned in the upcoming months? Don’t cancel them, just rework them! Did you know that individuals all over the country are doing happy hours, book clubs, and even talent shows using video platforms like Zoom? You can do it too! Virtual dance parties, dinners, watch parties, and more can be scheduled through Zoom and other live-streaming platforms.
For some, there is a bit of freedom allotted with stay-at-home orders to go for walks. It is important to stay active as much as possible during this time. If you can get some fresh air, do it. Just be sure you stay at least six feet away from others. If you can’t go outside, sign-up for online fitness classes. Some studios are streaming classes for free on Facebook or Instagram, and others you can sign-up for classes through an app. An online fitness community can really help during this time.
For older adults that are unable to effectively use technology, some facilities are assisting individuals. Some family members are even talking to their loved ones through the window as they sit outside!