The majority of the population is staying home right now. It’s tempting to call it “stuck” at home, but it’s important to remember that staying at home is the best way to help health care workers flatten the curve and lower the risk of overwhelming our medical facilities during the coronavirus (or COVID-19) pandemic. As such, using negatively connotated language like “stuck” at home can run counter to the overall goal.
That said, one thing many are working to avoid now is excessive boredom and isolation. There are countless offerings for students who normally spend their days in schools. But seniors, those who live alone or those who are staying in a care facility, can experience many of the same feelings of isolation if they are used to regular family/friend visits and now can’t have that sort of connection.
With that in mind, here are a few ways to help a senior family member avoid feeling too isolated during this period of social distancing.
Use the Internet to Socialize
Thanks to the internet, social isolation no longer has to be isolating. Whether using social media to keep track of friends and loved ones or using face-to-face apps, like Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime, it’s easy to speak to people far away in a closer way than just using the phone. Getting older family members, especially those with little to no experience prior to this period of isolation, familiar with these technologies can sometimes be an obstacle, but a quick tutorial can be enough to make it possible.
Virtual Tours and Experiences
Museums, galleries, and other tourist spots around the world have begun offering free virtual tours during this period of social isolation. The BBC has a partial roundup of the offerings, but a simple internet search should yield hundreds of results. Explore any number of places to stay active and learn.
Puzzles and games have seen an explosion in popularity in recent weeks. People searching for ways to keep their minds active have opted for stimulation in this form. Adults might not be able to visit their senior parents directly, but there is no reason they can’t send and/or drop off activities for them to enjoy.
Many or most large parks are closed now, but there are still plenty of places to go for a walk, even if its around the neighborhood. If a senior parent or family member has access to the outside, staying active and exercising is an excellent way to stave off boredom during this period of social isolation.