Creative Ways for Seniors to Stay Connected During Social Distancing
There's no doubt, humans were designed for connection and communication. We were meant to be together, to support one another, and to share our life experiences. In fact, we wrote this informative article last year about the positive impacts of socialization with seniors. Socialization can help reduce stress, increase longevity, reduce the risk of depression, and improve self-esteem. All good stuff!
So, the question of the day becomes, "How can we stay connected during a time of required social distancing?"
While typical get-togethers with friends and visits from our loved ones might look a little different right now, it's helpful to see them as just that, different. With a little creativity and willingness to try new things, there are plenty of ways you can stay connected – right from the comfort of your favorite couch. To help you get started, we pulled together a list of ten creative activities you can add to your social calendar today.
- Host a Video Chat: Thank goodness for technology that allows us to see, hear, and stay connected with the ones we love. With the help of services like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, and Google Hangouts, you can host a video chat. Simply let your guests know the time and then set up your chat in the app.
Free Tip! If you're unsure about which service to use, this is a great article that outlines your options. Need help setting up a service? Phone a friend or family member to have them walk you through the steps. Being able to see and hear the voices of loved ones can do wonders for your spirit, so it's worth the effort!
- Create a Scavenger Hunt: This would be a great activity to do with your grandkids! Create a short list of items they might be able to find around the house, and text or email it to them. As they find each item, have them take a picture and show you. This would also be something easy to do "live" over a FaceTime call.
- Take a Virtual Trip: There are many public places offering virtual tours right now. Just hop on your computer, and once you've discovered something or someplace spectacular, share it with a friend or family member. Have them visit, too, and then chat about your experiences.
Here's a curated list of live animal webcams, tours, and destinations for some instant inspiration!
- Sing Carpool Karaoke: Love to sing familiar tunes? Dial-up a friend on the phone or FaceTime and pretend you're in the car together. The "passenger" picks the song, then you both get to belt it out together. Give yourself extra points for recording it and sharing it online. Spread your talents & true joy!
- Start a Virtual Book Club: If you have young grandkids, offer to read to them over a video chat or phone call. Older kids and friends can engage with you in a more traditional book club. Simply choose a book to read together, then check-in after every chapter or so with your thoughts.
Want to organize a larger group discussion? Here's how to set up a Group FaceTime, group Hangout, or group Skype.
- Play Virtual Bingo: Bingo is a classic game that's both easy and entertaining. With the help of a group video chat, you can invite the family to all play along. Create your own set of custom bingo cards here, then email them to each participant. Pick a date to play, and then let the fun begin!
- Try Long-Distance Doodling: Whether you consider yourself good at drawing or not, pulling out a piece of paper and doodling alongside a grandchild can be such a great bonding experience. You also open up space for them to talk about what's on their mind. This activity would be perfect for a video chat or FaceTime call so you can see and share your doodles.
If you have older kids or want the conversation to be livelier, try a game of Virtual Pictionary. Have one person draw an object, and everyone on the chat guesses what it is. The first person to get it right wins points!
- Host a Tea Party: Give yourself a reason to dress in your Sunday best, and host a virtual tea party over a video chat or phone call. You can take this moment to share how things are going and really listen to each other. Having deep, honest conversations can be cathartic for everyone – especially right now.
- Show off Your Talents: Do you have a few magic tricks up your sleeve or just finished a painting or craft? Show it off with a virtual talent show. Invite everyone in the family to come to the "show" with something they're proud of, and take turns showing off your skills.
- Write Letters: No matter what age you are, everyone loves getting something in the mail. Not only that, but this is an easy, low-tech way to stay connected. So, pull out the stationery and write a few good old-fashioned letters or postcards. Need ideas of what to say? Share a story from childhood. Write about something new you've learned. Or simply ask a few questions that will encourage your loved one to write back!
Whether you're many miles or just six feet apart, there are plenty of safe and creative ways to stay connected right now. And after all of this is said and done, we may discover that we feel more connected and grateful for our relationships than ever before.
As you're spending more time at home, you might be dreaming about life in an all-inclusive retirement community. We're now offering virtual tours and seminars to give you a sneak peek at what that life could look like!
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