Seniors Engage, Stay Fit & Connect Virtually

Shelter in place is not an instruction to isolate from the world. Instead, people are being challenged to practice social distancing while finding creative ways to stay connected. For seniors, this means using technology that is new to them, which can be confusing and intimidating. However, some of the best solutions for engaging with others and keeping healthy are relatively easy to learn. Here are some ideas.

Seeing loved ones through video.

Through a smartphone or computer, there are many ways to use video to connect with loved ones. On smartphones, apps like WhatsApp and FaceTime allow users to have video conversations with people in their contact list who also have the app. The advantage of using a phone is that you don’t have to have Wi-Fi access to use the apps. Computer options include Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts let you make video calls using the internet. For these options, you need to have Wi-Fi.

Staying Fit

Studies have shown that exercise is critical to the health of seniors. It can promote long term physical, cognitive and psychological health. While sheltering in place, it isn’t possible or advisable to leave the house and be with other people, but there are many ways to exercise at home. Before starting an exercise program, contact your physician for some advice on the best level of exercise for you. Take some time to think about the sorts of exercises that appeal to you. With both of these steps taken, searching on the computer on YouTube will provide a variety of options. On the computer, senior-specific videos provide a range of workouts from yoga to chair exercises to Zumba. Another option is to find a personal trainer who is providing video training sessions.

Practice Mindfulness

In a stressful time, it is important to work on staying mentally healthy. Mindfulness has been found to have beneficial effects on physical and mental health, and it is an accessible, simple practice to learn. Check out a recent blog post, During Uncertain Times Consider Mindfulness or watch this Facebook live piece that includes an excellent guided mindfulness exercise.

Take a Tour or Catch a Show

From a home computer, many amazing places are offering virtual tours and performances to bring the world into your home. Good Housekeeping published an article with easy links to 30 museums, zoos and aquariums conducting online tours. Want to see the great outdoors? Narrated tours of national parks are also available online. The New York Metropolitan Opera is featuring nightly opera streams, and, for a fee, there are over 700 operas to discover through Met Opera On Demand. The Kennedy Center Digital Stage makes a variety of the venues past performances available online for free. Through a monthly or annual subscription, Broadway HD features hundreds of shows including Broadway Classics, Shakespeare, and the latest hot shows.

Get Your Groceries

Going to the store to buy groceries while social distancing is hard. In the Washington DC area, there are a few companies providing delivery services. The grocery items are displayed online, and you can order from the comfort and safety of your own home.

  • Wagshals offers delivery of groceries and prepared food.
  • Peapod offers delivery or buy-online-pick-up-in-store service from Giant.
  • Whole Foods offers delivery and pick-up.
  • Shipt delivers groceries and more from Target.
  • Instacart offers grocery shopping and delivery.
  • PostmatesDoordash, and UberEats are services that deliver food from your favorite stores or restaurants. These services may be expensive, so watch out for fees.

Don’t Forget to Stay Safe

The virtual world can come with some risks. There are scammers out there looking to take advantage of unsuspecting users. According to the key to safety is to be very careful before opening any email, pop-up or other “interruption” from an unknown source. If you are considering clicking on a link, you may want to go to Google and type in the name of the website to find the correct address to make sure you are going to the right place. Any service or app that requires you to provide personal information beyond your name and email should be avoided. For paid services, be very careful to assure that you are on a secure site before signing up.

When practicing social distancing, it is critical to stay connected. Their virtual world offers seniors many accessible, beneficial options. With some minimal effort and attention to safety, seniors can enjoy many opportunities to engage, exercise and be entertained.

Smith Life Homecare offers solutions to help seniors who are aging in place to live their best lives. During the pandemic, we are taking precautions to protect our clients and our staff. Contact us today to find out more about our services.

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