Four Ways We Can Engage With Older Adults During the Quarantine

Staying home is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. But the resulting isolation presents its own complications. As we know, isolation is not healthy for long periods of time, so older adults and their families are finding ways to stay active and engaged. While here at United, we are focused on supporting our residents, we also believe that during these times, it’s important to share your learnings and initiatives so all older adults in our greater community can also be supported. There are a few things we can all do to support the older adult in our circle of family, friends or neighbours.

Help Out a Neighbour or Friend

Chalk drawing of encouragement at United's Garrison Green
Chalk drawing of encouragement at United’s Garrison Green

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.

Laurie Dolph, daughter of Garrison Green resident Jim Dolph, regularly drops off treats fo Jim. Even though visitor restrictions are in place, she finds that doing errands and dropping off special items are great ways to make a difference.

Call Often

Technology gives 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. He doesn’t use Skype or Apple’s FaceTime, because he doesn’t use that technology, but that would also be a great way to stay in touch.”

Jean and Dean Geddes who live at United’s Fish Creek community stay in touch with family, who bring them groceries and other necessities. They also speak regularly with family and friends using the computer and phone. One of United’s employees helped them get set up on FaceTime. They might even try using free video conferencing programs such as Zoom.

If you’re new to technology, here are a couple of links to resources that can help an older adult.

How to become tech savvy

Online tech services for older adults

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. Now that the weather is better, 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. There are  various online events such as documentaries, concerts and virtual museum tours. You can also drop off artistic supplies, books or fitness resources.

Older Adults Helping Older Adults

Fish Creek resident Libby on her computer
Fish Creek resident Libby on her computer

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, Pixabay. Videos by Sherana Productions.

Take a look at our new Public Service Announcement.

The restrictions on visiting mean that tours aren’t available right now, but don’t hesitate to talk with one of our active living advisors about life in a United community. They can arrange for a tour once it’s safe to do so. 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.

Contact us here!