During this time of increased isolation, it’s more important than ever to stay connected with loved ones, especially if you are living in a retirement community. Loneliness can have negative health benefits. But just because you aren’t able to meet with friends and family in person doesn’t mean you have to be alone!
Today, there are numerous virtual options for connecting with others online, via video chat or through other platforms. If you haven’t dipped your toes into the virtual world, don’t worry! It’s much easier than you think.
Here are seven ways to stay connected virtually with friends and family during the current pandemic:
1) Try Google Duo or FaceTime
The most popular video chat applications are easy to use with your mobile device. Simply download the app from your phone’s app store, and make sure the person you want to video chat with downloads the same app. Then get calling!
While you may find that there’s a bit of a learning curve, these video chat programs have become easier to use over time. You might really enjoy it!
2) Create a Family Facebook Group
Most of us have Facebook, but our daily feeds can get cluttered up with lots of ads, brands and updates from friends-of-friends. Why not create a group that’s just for you and your immediate family?
These groups are easy to set up and make private. Then all you have to do is invite the close family or friends you want to interact with more regularly - and you’re all set! Try posting daily conversation starters, sharing recipes, or encouraging everyone to check in each evening with a little anecdote about their day.
3) Plan a Virtual Lunch Date on Zoom
What separates Zoom from some other video chat options is that you can resize your desktop screen and see everyone on the call at the same time. This makes it a great option to use if you want to have a birthday or anniversary party but can’t get a whole group together in one space due to health concerns.
The software is free to install for personal use, and a “virtual meeting” can contain up to 100 participants for up to forty minutes (after that, you just have to set up a new meeting). Set up a lunch date on Zoom with a friend and enjoy your lunch together - virtually!
4) Text and Call Regularly
If you felt that texting or calling a loved one every day was too much, think again. During this time of physical isolation, increased contact in any form can help ease the sense of disconnectedness and depression for you - and your loved ones.
You can even create a “group text” that includes you and your children, or even your grandchildren, so that each text you send will be sent to the whole group. Start up a “joke of the day” text chain, so that every morning, each of you shares a joke on the group text.
If you and another loved one enjoy crafts or gardening, you can text each other photos from the garden or the progress on your current craft project, too.
5) Play Board Games Together Online
Did you know there are many popular board games that you can play online with friends and family?
Monopoly, Scrabble, Words with Friends, numerous card games and more can all be played virtually using a variety of easy-to-use apps and platforms like Facebook or Steam. It might take a little time to get used to the virtual space, but soon you will be sharing a game or two (or three!) with friends and family.
6) Create a Virtual Book Club
If you enjoy the social and intellectual aspects of a book club, you can still enjoy both - online! This is another way to leverage the private Facebook group feature.
Create a private group (or have the group leader do so, and invite you) to vote on and discuss book selections. Then you can meet regularly over a video chat service like Zoom to discuss the book in real time. Be creative!
7) Take Up Letter Writing (Again!)
It may seem ironic, but good old-fashioned letter writing is still a fun and highly personal way to keep in touch. With more people working from home, others also have a little more time on their hands to invest in personalized communication.
We also receive fewer and fewer personalized letters in the mail these days (so much junk mail!) so when a personal letter arrives, it’s very much a treat. Make it a habit to write weekly or daily letters to loved ones. This is a wonderful activity that engages the mind as well as a timeless way to stay connected.
Staying Engaged at Sugar Hill
Here at Sugar Hill, there are always plenty of ways for our residents to stay engaged. See why they choose to live here: