Wow! I hardly know what to say. Last month I wrote about ways older adults and people with disabilities might overcome loneliness and isolation and now here we all are in the same boat. We know older adults or those with compromised immune systems are highly vulnerable, but all Californians except essential workers are sheltering-in to slow the spread of Covid19.
Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance has Covid19 information in English, Spanish, and Chinese posted right here on its homepage to connect you with the latest news and resources as well as activities to pursue and a Phone a Senior program.
The California Department of Aging and the Health and Human Services Agency “Stay
Home, Save Lives, Check In” campaign encourages all Californians to check-in with older neighbors and offer assistance to ensure they have needed food, medicines, and other supplies. You can learn more at Engageca.org/check-in.
Keep scrolling down the Engageca.org/check-in page and you’ll find a number of ways to entertain and occupy yourself while remaining at home. The Department of Aging has also created a guide that you can download here.
How to up your digital game.
Many of us are now stepping up our digital know-how and using technology to work from home, stay in touch, and keep up to date. A wide range of digital platforms enable you to stay connected while you stay at home using a cell phone, computer, laptop, or tablet. Facetime, Zoom, Google Groups, and Skype are all popular, use your web browser to explore which ones might be best for you. I had a hard time finding an objective source for comparing what are known as “app chat” platforms but you can view the following TV News video that does a good job introducing them. You can just ignore the opening ad.
Learn something new.
This is a good time to learn something new. Explore the range of free online courses offered by colleges and universities here: https://www.edx.org/. If you are interested in developing a new hobby or refreshing an old one, e.g., knitting, just type “how to knit?” into your web browser and the search will bring up a host of selections, many of which are free.
Even if your digital devices become your new best friends, don’t stay sitting down glued to the screen. Get up, move around, step outside whether its to walk your dog, work in your garden, or wave to passersby from your front porch.
Good things may come out of this!
Whatever you do, don’t lose hope. We can emerge from this crisis more grateful for the little things in life, more knowledgeable, and more skilled. If we work together to ease the challenges of sheltering-in and isolation, we can find opportunities to expand our connection to each other and our communities. Until next time, I wish you well.
Suzanne Reed is the past Vice Chair of the Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance. Retired from the CA State Senate where she was a Chief of Staff, Suzanne was also the Chief Consultant to the Senate Select Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care.