Health experts continue to stress the importance of seniors distancing themselves from others amidst the coronavirus outbreak that is sweeping the United States and the world. Social visits to nursing homes, assisted living and independent living homes are being restricted and several social activities for seniors in these communities are being cancelled in the name of public health and safety. Now more than ever, it is critical to make sure that while seniors are socially distant, they are not socially alone. To help combat feelings of isolation and loneliness amongst our vulnerable elderly population, try out some of these virtual fun activities for seniors to help them connect with others during this difficult time.
It is totally possible for seniors to avoid crowds and stay home while still connecting with other people in a fun and meaningful manner. Many senior living communities have turned to video conferencing apps to help with virtual socializing, be it with loved ones who can’t visit or even with friends inside of the senior living community. Read below to learn about the different fun activities for seniors who are looking to connect with other people while keeping a safe, physical distance.
Be it through FaceTime, Skype or another video conference platform, there are plenty of ways to catch up with family and friends while in-person social visits are not allowed. Seniors can schedule regular check-ins with their children and grandchildren, and can even take advantage of this time to catch up with loved ones who live far away and cannot normally visit! If a senior is having difficulty navigating these video conferencing apps, a staff member of the senior living community is on hand to teach them how to use FaceTime or Skype so that they can chat with their loved ones in no time.
Just because in-person activities for seniors have been cancelled at senior living communities doesn’t mean that elderly people can’t partake in group activities in creative ways! Seniors can take their book clubs online with weekly group video chats to discuss the latest chapter and enjoy some familiar faces. There are also a variety of online book clubs that seniors can join where they can discuss books of their choice with people from all over the world.
Who says you need an in-person audience for a good night of karaoke? The tech-savvy members of the family can set up a Zoom meeting for several people to join – a perk for seniors who are missing big family gatherings! Each family member can rotate whose turn it is to turn up their volume and sing a karaoke song alongside a YouTube video with the rest of the family cheering them on. Seniors can ask a staff member ahead of time to help them load up a song on YouTube that they want to sing, or can go the easy route and simply sing one of their favorite songs a cappella style. This is a particularly great activity for seniors to enjoy that are in a memory care program. Bonus points for using a creative microphone in your room!
While it is necessary for seniors to practice physical distancing from others, it is imperative that they still participate in physical activities on a daily basis to stay healthy. Alongside exercise classes being cancelled in senior living communities, many gyms and fitness studios have been forced to shut their doors across the country and have adapted to this new reality by moving their classes online. One way for seniors to feel connected to others is to join a live stream senior-focused fitness classes like Yoga for Arthritis or a senior cardio class. When classes are streamed in real time and all members have their video cameras on, a sense of community is definitely built! If pre-recorded classes are preferred, there are plenty of senior-focused exercise videos on YouTube to explore.
One way for seniors to connect with loved ones during social distancing is to spend time hand crafting gifts that they can send in the mail or give in person once the coronavirus pandemic has subsided. One of the most popular fun activities for seniors that can be picked up while they have to keep their distance from others is knitting scarves, blankets, or other cozy gifts for their loved ones. Not only will seniors get to feel good about creating something beautiful for someone they care about, but the person who receives the gift will have a cozy reminder of how loved they are!
With senior living communities restricting visitation and encouraging senior residents to stay in their apartments, finding ways to stay connected is so important now more than ever. If someone you love is in assisted living, independent living, a nursing home, or a memory program, try one of the fun activities for seniors listed above to stay connected during the coronavirus outbreak. Check on the ones you love, have patience with older adults when it comes to adapting to new technology, and know that even a short conversation goes a long way!