Maintaining Human Connection During the Coronavirus Pandemic
5 Ideas to Stay Socially Connected
For the health and safety of all Americans, health experts and government officials have asked that we battle COVID-19 by staying at least six feet away from others, self-quarantine ourselves if we have a cough or a fever, and not to gather in larger groups. This social distancing is an important part of curbing the spread of the coronavirus and slowing the demand and need for medical equipment and care that doctors are growing increasingly short on.
“For seniors who already struggle with feelings of isolation and lack of social connection, this added isolation can be a hard pill to swallow.”
While social distancing measures are not a permanent part of our lives, it may be very difficult for some to adjust to the feelings of disconnect from others. For seniors who already struggle with feelings of isolation and lack of social connection because of health issues, lack of mobility, or a large distance between family members, this added isolation can be a hard pill to swallow.
Fortunately, social distancing does not mean social isolation, it just means that we need to be more creative with our social worlds. Seniors can stay safe and alleviate health risks while still gaining the benefits that socializing can provide.
“Fortunately, social distancing does not mean social isolation, it just means that we need to be more creative with our social worlds.”
Here are 5 ways that seniors can stay social during the time of “social distancing” and continue to enjoy the benefits of normal human connection.
- Use Social Media and Online Messengers – Group chats on messengers or using social media to share feelings, ask questions, and stay connected can help reduce feelings of aloneness. One group on Facebook is helping people stay connected and drive a sense of community by members from around the world sharing photos of rainbows within the group. The members are creating rainbow art and displaying it in their windows, having their kids draw rainbows on the sidewalk, and sharing their unique rainbow art in the group. This is a great way to feel connected and involved – especially for those that particularly enjoy art and/or developing a sense of camaraderie.
- Digital Classes/Events/Activities – The internet is amazing because there is SO MUCH available to everyone. Seniors that enjoy learning something new can attend online classes. There are even fun events like virtual tours of museums that people can participate in online.
- Video Coffee/Dinner Dates – Don’t skip out on your Sunday coffee date with your girlfriends. Use a phone or laptop and enjoy your coffee experience from the comfort (and safety) of our kitchen. Not only is the experience going to be less expensive, it is also going to be more comfortable and convenient.
- Get on The Phone – Remember when people used to spend time on the phone having full conversations with friends and family members? Seniors can enjoy nostalgic moments while talking on the phone to family, wherever they may be. Many more people are at home with time to connect now – take advantage of it.
- Take it to the Neighborhood – You don’t have to violate social distancing requests to connect with others in your own neighborhood. People in Italy have been playing music together from the safety of their own patios and others have connected with neighbors by creating distance games from their sidewalks and front yards. Display something funny in your window each day for the kids in the neighborhood to look forward to. Make signs with humorous jokes to uplift your neighbors spirits each day. Get creative.
There are many ways that seniors can stay in touch and keep social connections alive – it may require a little bit of thinking outside of the box or getting creative, but the experience will be one that is remembered and treasured. It may even become a new normal that keeps you connected long past this unprecedented time of national social distancing.