Staying at home and avoiding human contact is necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, especially for our most vulnerable senior population. Unfortunately, this means that our senior living communities in Troy, Slingerlands, Niskayuna, East Greenbush and Queensbury NY, as well as others around the state, the nation and the world have had to close their doors to visitors, and limit resident-to-resident interactions.
While these precautions are necessary, they can lead to anxiety, loneliness and depression – especially in seniors, who are already more susceptible to these feelings. Now, more than ever, it is important we keep our loved ones engaged. Here are a few things that you can do for yourself, or the seniors in your life, to stay connected.
Keep in Touch with Friends & Family
One of the plus sides to social distancing is that with so many closures and cancellations, everyone actually has more time to catch up and keep in touch with each other. A quick phone call is a simple way to stay connected, but why not schedule a virtual visit with family and friends? From free video communication tools, like Zoom, to smartphone apps like Facetime, there are so many ways for seniors to connect with their loved ones face-to-face.
Communicate the Old-Fashioned Way
Social distancing can be hardest for young children who don’t understand why they can’t visit or spend time with their grandparents like they normally would. To ease the distance, pick up a roll of stamps and go back to communicating the old-fashioned way. Encourage kids to make cards and artwork, or tear out the pages in a coloring book, then mail them off to grandma and grandpa each day. Not only will this keep seniors and kids connected, but it will help young children pass the time while they are home from school.
Play Games Online
Seniors, like the rest of us, are finding their normal routines disrupted. Everything from Bingo to their weekly card games have been put on hold, but, for those who are not tech-averse, it’s easy to play games online. Seniors can download apps for their phones, like Words with Friends, or check out websites, such as Pogo and Tabletopia, which provide free access to hundreds of games – from Yahtzee to Chess – that can be played among friends.
Livestream Broadway Shows
While many travel plans have been canceled and all senior living community day trips have been postponed, it doesn’t mean you still can’t catch a Broadway show. BroadwayHD is offering a free 7-day trial, which allows seniors to watch performances from New York City’s Broadway theaters, London’s West End and other venues around the world from the comfort of their home. Right now they’re offering classics like Cats, the King and I, and The Sound of Music, as well as plays, ballets and other performances.
Take a Virtual Museum Tour
Many of the world’s museums are temporarily closed to curb the spread of coronavirus, but the upside is that they’ve opened their collections and galleries to virtual tours. Now seniors can visit dozens, if not hundreds, of museums that may previously have been inaccessible. From the Guggenheim to the Louvre, seniors can stroll through the galleries, zoom in on exhibits and spend the afternoon at the museum, using their computer, a tablet or other mobile devices.
Watch Professional Sports
With all professional sporting events on pause for the foreseeable future, sports addicts are going through withdrawal. Luckily, MLB.tv is offering free streaming of the 2018 and 2019 Major League Baseball season. All you have to do is log in or create an account. NBA League Pass is also offering some content without a subscription, as is NFL Game Pass, and the NHL is offering full-game replays of the current season on their website.
What We Are Doing in Our Senior Living Communities
At Eddy Senior Living, the health and safety of our residents and staff are always our top priority. In order to protect everyone during the coronavirus outbreak, we have canceled all social gatherings and activities in our senior living communities. Mail and food are being delivered directly to all residents and grocery delivery services have been canceled to avoid bringing contaminants into resident homes. We are also taking extra cleaning precautions with door handles and handrails, and are no longer allowing visitors, except in rare, end-of-life circumstances.