The Eddy Senior Living communities are known for their great community events and social gatherings, group fitness and wellness programs, and dozens of other life enrichment activities, but with social distancing guidelines in place, we’ve had to find new ways to keep residents connected and safe.
Here are some unique and creative ideas for keeping seniors entertained while sheltering in.
9. Outdoor Exercise Classes
By moving group fitness classes outside, it not only decreases the spread of germs, it provides seniors with a much needed dose of Vitamin D and lots of fresh air. Participants are instructed to place yoga mats at least 6 feet apart, and some instructors even paint boxes or and ‘X’ in the grass to indicate where class participants should stand to maintain a safe distance.
Weekly poker games and Mahjong games may be out, but that doesn’t mean seniors still can’t engage in some friendly competition. Several senior living communities are still hosting Bingo nights by using a megaphone or amplifier to call out the numbers to residents who remain in their doorways, while seniors at home are opting to play games online with friends and family.
7. Movie Nights
Several senior living communities are keeping their movie nights going by having residents tune in to the same movie in their apartments and passing out popcorn and other typical movie snacks. Seniors at home can also enjoy movie nights with friends and family using the new Netflix Party feature, or simply plan to watch a movie at the same time and schedule a call for when the credits roll to give reviews and discuss.
At Eddy Hawthorne Ridge senior living community in East Greenbush NY, residents recently took part in some socially distanced crafting. Each resident received all the supplies needed to complete a springtime wreath to adorn their door, along with instructions – and now the hallways look great! Seniors at home can plan similar craft projects with friends. Order supplies online and share photos of your finished projects via Facebook or Instagram.
5. Online Classes
From learning a new language to cooking classes, many educational programs that were previously held in-person are now being adapting for online. All you need is a computer, phone or tablet and an internet connection. Instructors typically email a link to a Zoom meeting, or other free video communication tool, prior to the event for participants to easily join the virtual classroom. If you can’t find a class of interest in your community, check out Open Culture for hundreds of free online courses.
4. Virtual Clubs
Just because your book club or knitting group can’t meet in-person, doesn’t mean you still can’t get together to share common interests. Take your club online with video meetings. Zoom, Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger Video Calling are all free, easy-to-use video communication tools for groups. (And you can still enjoy a glass of wine while kvetching virtually with friends.)
3. Volunteer Opportunities
There are still many ways to give back to your community, even if you are isolated at home. For instance, the Smithsonian Institute is always looking for volunteers to help transcribe important documents, and StoriiTime connects senior readers with children via video call in the US, Canada & UK. Check out this list of other charitable organizations looking for virtual volunteers.
2. Organization Overhaul
While this isn’t necessarily a social activity, self-isolating is the perfect time to take care of organizational tasks that you may have been putting off. Whether it’s a junk drawer or closet that needs cleaning out, or a box of photos and keepsakes that needs to be sorted and put into albums, now is the time to get it done. And just think how much better you’ll feel when you open that drawer or closet and find it’s free of clutter!
1. Video Visits
With many senior living communities enforcing strict no visitor rules, “window visits” with loved ones have become the new norm, but video calls are another great way to socialize while socially distancing. Beechwood senior living community in Troy NY even purchased iPads for the residents to use, but a smartphone works, too.
More Ideas for Socially Distancing Seniors in NY
For more clever and creative ways to help pass the time, check out how Eddy Senior Living residents are Finding Joy in the ‘Little Things’. You may also be interested in 5 Ways for Seniors to Stay Happy & Healthy While Self-Isolating and Keeping Seniors Engaged & Connected.