What to do While Social Distancing
As we all know, it’s essential to stay active and connected with others during these times. Staying active has always been important, but even more so now, while we practice social distancing in senior care. Exercise benefits your immune system, which will also help to lessen the effects of COVID-19. Staying in quarantine for long periods can hurt everyone’s mental health, which is why staying connected with others is more important now than ever before.
Here are the top activities for social distancing in senior care.††
†1. Arts and Crafts
Older adults who have trouble moving around can still stay active while sheltered at home by doing arts and crafts. That could include working with clay, knitting, coloring, painting, or crocheting. Any of these activities can help foster the dexterity and cognitive capabilities of seniors.
Widely recognized for its cardio benefits, dancing is an exciting, simple method of exercise that will boost your endurance during the long days of social distancing. This pandemic now proves more than ever that exercise and good health should be viewed as a marathon and not a sprint. Music is also proven to increase the motivation of people who exercise. It goes hand in hand with dancing as well. There’s a plethora of dance music out there to help a slow body get moving.
If you’re more of the mellow sort, then walking might suit you better than dancing. As a matter of fact, most communities with stay at home orders have been given exceptions when it comes to outdoor exercise. When the weather is nice, and it’s not too crowded outside, then it’s perfectly acceptable to walk around your neighborhood. This will give you the crucial benefits of reducing restlessness, improving your mood, and boosting your immune system. However, if your senior loved one must stay inside, then walking around the senior living center or marching in place will still be beneficial, as these activities will boost your daily step count.
Stretching, yoga, tai chi, and pilates are all ways that seniors can remain fit while following stay at home orders. These activities also carry their own benefits, such as better mobility, improved balance, core strength, and flexibility. Countless video tutorials for these activities can be watched online for free. Many of them are also targeted at the senior population. However, another option is available Ė joining a virtual class. These classes are usually hosted by senior centers or exercise studios in your area.
†5. Strength Training
Strength training is still vital for seniors. It doesn’t have to include heavy weight lifting routines. In fact, many strength training programs for seniors are designed for more sitting and lying down. To start with strength training, one only needs their current body weight and a few simple exercises. If you want, you can also use commonplace items lying around your residence (like soup cans) to add weight for your exercises.
For seniors who love being outdoors, gardening can make your outside living space beautiful and allow you to burn some calories while getting fresh air. While some seniors might not be mobile enough to go digging in the dirt, there are still other ways to enjoy the benefits of gardening. Simply creating potted plants and herbs for your indoor space or decorating your enclosed patio or porch can give you a quality diversion and help you stay active.
†1. Get Your Supplies Delivered
With many seniors in quarantine (especially those living in “food deserts”), running out of food or medicines can be a real risk. You can show your senior loved one that you’re still thinking of them even if you cannot see them by ordering their favorite meals or groceries to be delivered right to their residence.
†2. Movie and Book Groups
Choose your favorite movie or book to watch or read, then talk to your loved one about it over phone or video chat. You can also come back to a favorite story that you both enjoyed in the past or take this opportunity to read or watch something new to both of you. You both might also enjoy audiobooks or podcasts. Media offers countless different forms of escapism. It’s also an excellent way for seniors to give their minds a workout. Exercise for the brain comes from consuming the media and from discussing it afterward with loved ones.
†3. Phone Calls and Video Calling
Giving your elderly loved one a call a few times every day can help ease any feelings of social isolation that they may be experiencing. Things you can do include telling stories, jokes, reading aloud to them, solving riddles, or playing simple games.
†4. Virtual Events
These days, more businesses than you realize are converting to entirely digital and virtual formats. Religious organizations, gyms, senior living facilities, and more are hosting online classes, meetups, and events with YouTube, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Zoom, and other online platforms.†
Do a little research and get your loved one connected online with their favorite hobbies or community groups. If it’s a good fit for you both, then consider participating together as well. Not only will you both be entertained, but you’ll also have something to talk about afterward.
You will likely need to give your senior loved one help over the call to assist them with registering accounts, installing new software and apps, etc.
†5. Send a Letter
While this might not even seem like a thing anymore for the younger generations, for your senior loved one, it can be a wonderful surprise receiving a physical letter from you. In the letter, just let them know that you’re thinking about them and that you love them very much. However, you don’t have to keep it limited to a written letter. Flowers, printed photos, burned CDs, or even some artwork that you or their grandchild has been working on can be a meaningful gift for them to receive.