Social Distancing Doesn’t Mean Loneliness

We can get lonely in the best of times, but during this time of social distancing and quarantine it can even be more stressful, especially for seniors.  Since we are all staying at home, we need activities to keep us occupied, and our minds sharp. It’s also important to stay as connected as possible with family, friends and neighbors, while ensuring that we have the supplies we need to get through this challenging time.  We need to stay informed and ensure that our seniors are supported in the days to come. We don’t know how long this process will take, so it’s time to make a plan and stick with it.

You need internet access

In this day and age, most people in the US are fortunate enough to have internet access.  We realize the irony of posting this, but the best way to stay connected and up-to-date right now is through your home’s internet access.  Several companies offer low-cost and special rates for seniors. You need to have speeds of at least 25Mbps so you can stream content and watch video.  

Explore your local library’s website.  With a library card, you can borrow digital resources like e-books, music, movies and much more.  Now is a perfect time to learn new things through live streaming, downloading podcasts, or browsing the wonderful world of YouTube.  Cultural institutions are moving exhibits and performances online.  You can tour a zoo, visit a museum, or travel virtually to somewhere you’ve never been. There is also a plethora of free online classes to assist you in learning.  Whether you want to learn to paint, create a new craft, cook new dishes, or learn how to grow a garden, there’s a video for that.  

So let’s take advantage of the technology that we have available at our fingertips. Contact your internet provider to ensure that you have the best deal available for seniors.  

Exercise and get outside

Quarantine doesn’t mean that you have to become a couch potato.  Get moving! Take a walk in your yard or neighborhood a couple times a day.  The reason we are staying home is to protect ourselves from the Coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still need some good ol’ sunshine to help keep us healthy.  Remember to practice social distancing and wash your hands before you touch your face when you come back inside. If you can’t get outside, download a video on senior exercise and stretching. Learn yoga to keep your mind and body healthy.  YouTube has several good videos on low intensity yoga for seniors

Stay connected with family and friends

You may want to have a family meeting to reassure yourself that all of your family members are safe and healthy.  However, there are several options for group communication using technology that would be safer right now. If you have a smartphone, there’s an option to perform a conference call, allowing multiple people to speak simultaneously.  Other choices include platforms like Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp and Hangouts, which allow you to visualize your family as you converse. 

During this time of quarantine, without lunches, coffee dates, games or other opportunities to connect with your friends, technology can be your social glue.  Staying in contact during your morning coffee or lunch via a virtual platform is almost like being person to person at your local cafe.

Catch up on reading

Is there a book, or series of books you have been putting off reading?  Well, there’s no time like the present to get started! If you don’t have any new books in your own collection, you can visit your local library website to explore online options for reading. You can either download them to read, or listen to them on your device. Your local library website is a great resource for exploring new things. 

The important thing during this difficult time is to keep active and stay in touch with your family, friends and community.  Make a plan for each day to help pass the time and keep you energized. This helps ward off feelings of loneliness.