As health authorities predicted, a second wave of COVID-19 is causing a resurgence of cases in Alberta. Staying home is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus. But the resulting isolation presents its own complications. As we know, isolation is not healthy for long periods of time, so since the pandemic began, older adults and their families are finding ways to stay active and engaged.
Do your neighbour a favour
Older adults living on their own may feel isolated – even more so when everyone is asked to stay at home. One way to help is to recognize which of your neighbours, friends or family members may be alone and volunteer to shop for them, drop off meals or special treats, or find a safe way to visit with them.
Stay Connected with Mom and Dad
Laurie Dolph, daughter of Garrison Green resident Jim Dolph, regularly drops off treats for him. She finds that doing errands and dropping off special items are great ways to make a difference.
Technology is giving everyone an easy way to reach out and stay connected. “We phone dad every day, and he phones us,” said Laurie. “I think that’s one of the best ways to stay in touch because we get to hear his voice. We also like to go for drives, depending on the status of the restrictions. Even though it’s psychologically difficult to remain isolated, the residents understand that United has their best interests at heart. I really trust what they are doing. They are really on the ball. The employees care so much.”
Jim recently came back from hospital and he is grateful for the care he is getting. “It’s magnificent the care that I’m getting from the employees. They are doing a wonderful job. They are so welcoming and caring. They are providing me with everything I need,” said Jim.
Stay Connected to Your Community
Ruth Nelson, who lives with her husband Don at the Fish Creek community has a good understanding of the technology. She uses the phone, Skype, Zoom and Facebook to stay connected to her family and friends. As an example, a group of friends have organized bi-weekly teas using Zoom to connect. Someone chooses an unusual tea and snacks are delivered to everyone in the group, who then get together on Zoom to visit. She watches church services online, does puzzles and keeps in touch with her neighbours, often sharing baking. “A recent addition to our suite is an organ, which I really enjoy playing, and my friends send me music books. It’s been a real joy. And I’ve just signed up for a writing program through St. Mary’s University. I’ll be partnered with a grade three student. As a former elementary school teacher, I’m just thrilled!
“I think United is doing a great job to keep us all safe,” said Ruth. “I really appreciate what they are doing. It’s certainly been a great place to be living during the pandemic. The employees and the other residents make this a true community. Everyone is supporting each other and the employees make each person feel special. Each one is so cheery and always welcoming, so I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
Find Creative Ways to Stay Active
Whether living in and older adult community, or in the family home, staying active and engaged these days is all about getting creative. While usual programs such as yoga classes or having coffee with friends aren’t possible, online versions are available. Yoga and other exercise programs are online, and using technology to have virtual coffee with friends is encouraged. Going for walks is encouraged, provided that adequate physical distances can be maintained. United is finding safe, enjoyable and imaginative ways to keep residents engaged physically, socially and mentally, which you can also share with older adults in your life.
Older Adults Helping Older Adults
When learning to swim or going for a hike in the mountains, it is always best to have a buddy. The buddy system is also useful in times of isolation. With today’s technology, a person can still socialize even when staying home. A simple regular phone call can work wonders, or connect with other older adults through Zoom or Facebook. Often there are interactive games available online. How about a game of chess with a friend, or a board game that can be played with three or four people? For some, it can be an interesting way to make new friends, even half a world away.
Photos by United Active Living. Videos by Sherana Productions.
Talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange in-person or virtual tours of our Garrison Green and Fish Creek communities. If you know a friend or family member who could benefit from living in a United community, send them a link to our website or blog, or arrange a future visit. We are happy to help!
To learn more about life at United’s Fish Creek community, watch this short video.
Or, to find out more about life at United’s Garrison Green, watch this short video.