Keeping Seniors Engaged
Older adults can explore, connect without leaving homeBy FamilyFeatures.com
A sense of sharing and learning can be critical to the well-being of people who are socially distancing due to COVID-19. It’s hard on everyone, but distancing can be especially challenging for older adults, who may have already been lonely to begin with.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are ways to engage, explore and unwind.
Consider these ideas. They are geared toward seniors, but certainly apply to other ages, too.
- 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.
- Use social media such as Instagram and Facebook 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. Stumped about what to say? Remember “Show and Tell” back in your school days? Choose an item in your home with a story to it and share it on camera. (If you are a beginner and don’t know yet how to do a video call, enlist a friend or family member to walk you through your first video chat. This can be done by phone.)
- Take free courses online. With subjects ranging from scrapbooking to computers, there is something for nearly everyone.
- Explore zoos and aquariums across the country through virtual tours and lessons. Some have live webcams that allow you to watch the animals in real time.
- Tour one of the many national parks offering digital tours.
- Coloring books are no longer just for kids! Coloring books made for adults are often sold at the grocery store (try the magazine section) and at department and gift stores.
- Play arcade games, bridge, mahjong and solitaire and solve puzzles online. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is among organizations with fun games on its website. They are free with AARP membership.
- Check out your library’s free e-books and audiobooks. (Consider also 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 even acting games can work well virtually.
- Catch free performances online. Some opera houses and theaters are streaming performances for digital audiences.
For information on general services for older adults in your particular community, call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 or visit eldercare.acl.gov. You can also find a host of resources at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website, ncdhhs.gov (enter “aging” in its search field).
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