Searching ways to stay connected with friends and family especially during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Connection and a sense of community can be critical to well-being as people continue to distance and isolate. It can be challenging, especially for older adults, but there are ways to engage, explore, and unwind. One of the best ways to connect is to engage virtually.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so choose a few things that suit you and commit to them. Remember to pay attention to your social and mental health while taking care of your physical health, and consider these ideas from the Administration for Community Living.
- Use social media to stay in touch with friends and loved ones or reconnect with people you haven’t seen in a while.
- Take advantage of video call platforms to see faces of family and friends while you talk to them.
- Write letters to friends and reminisce about some of your favorite memories. Ask them to write back and share their own favorite memories.
- Keep up to date with current events and stay connected to neighbors by reading local newspapers and community bulletins.
- Online gaming can serve two purposes for seniors. It can help you stay in touch with friends or meet new friends. The added bonus is that most people agree online games are a great way to exercise your brain.
- Take free courses online. With subjects ranging from computers and cooking to studio arts and foreign languages, there is something for nearly everyone.
- Explore zoos and aquariums across the country through virtual tours and lessons. Many have live webcams that allow you to watch the animals in real-time.
- Enjoy artwork from around the world. Thousands of museums and galleries are currently displaying their collections online through virtual tours.
- Tour one of the many national parks offering digital tours and experiences you can access anytime from the comfort of home.
- Check your library’s free e-books and audiobooks you can borrow without leaving home. Consider joining a virtual book club to connect with others enjoying the same book.
- Host dinner or a game night with friends over a video chat. Word, trivia and acting games tend to work well virtually.
- Catch free performances online. Some opera houses and theaters are streaming plays and performances for digital audiences.
- Watch a TV show or movie while talking to a friend on the phone or over video chat. Many streaming services offer free trials and some even have a way to watch together online.
The 10 best ways to stay connected on line
Seniors aged 65 and older are the fastest-growing population on Facebook, Pew Research Center reports. From 2018 to 2019, Facebook users in this group increased by 11%, while millennial users only increased by 2%. Why are so many seniors on Facebook? Though seniors have a wide array of reasons for choosing Facebook, the main reason is its popularity. 69% of Americans are on Facebook, which makes sharing photos, videos, and updates with family easier than any other platform.
You can send friend requests to your children, grandchildren, cousins, second-cousins, high school classmates, and other friends you’d like to stay in touch with. All you have to do is find their profile and click “Add Friend.” You can also use Facebook to join groups or search for local events.
Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. Zoom Rooms is the original software-based conference room solution used around the world in board, conference, huddle, and training rooms, as well as executive offices and classrooms.
Marco Polo works when you have a moment to talk, even if your schedules don’t match. Unlike other video apps, you don’t need to be live.
FaceTime is an app that supports video and audio calling between Apple devices. It doesn’t replace your regular phone calls but instead is provided as an alternative. Apple’s FaceTime app works on Wi-Fi, so one major benefit it has over your regular Phone app is that it can make free internet-based calls anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection.
Skype keeps the world talking. Say “hello” with an instant message, voice or video call – all for free, no matter what device they use Skype on. Skype is available on phones, tablets, PCs, and Macs. • Video calls – Don’t just hear the cheers, see it! Get together with 1 or 24 of your friends and family on a HD video call.
|Netflix Party will let groups of friends stream the same shows remotely. The extension only works with the Google Chrome browser. It lets friends chat live while watching the same film or show on Netflix at the same time through a shared screen.|
Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone.
Readeo offers an ever-growing library of children’s books online—with one fantastic twist: read kids’ books online together whether you’re in the same room or thousands of miles apart.
|Nextdoor is your local hub to connect and share with the neighborhood. It’s where communities come together to keep a local shopkeeper in business. Where neighbors exchange recommendations for babysitters, plans for local events, and tips about what to order at that new cafe down the street. Where local agencies connect with neighbors in need|
Other ways to stay connected
Pick up the phone and call someone. A child. A grand child. An old school chum. The key to getting connected via phone is to make the call. If you wait for some else to initiate the call, you wait all day. …and the next day. …and the day after that.
You may not want to burden others with your calls but in reality, they are probably waiting for some one to call just like you.
You can literally be an answer to prayer!
Make a list – or have someone help you make a list – of all the birthdays of people you care about. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Visit the dollar store and buy several at a time so you always have some in stock to send. You can even make your own cards if you are computer savvy. Some people even recycle cards. When they get a card, they put it in their inventory to send again later.
For information on services for older adults in your community, contact the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 or eldercare.acl.gov.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
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