To stay in touch with friends and family during the COVID-19 lockdown, many older adults have evolved into tech-savvy seniors. With just a few clicks of a mouse, you can meet up with friends on Zoom, chat with your grandkids on Face Time, or reconnect with long-lost friends on Facebook and Instagram.
Unfortunately, with the recent uptick in COVID cases, especially in Missouri, it appears we’ll be homebound a little longer, relying on the online social scene we’ve built through our laptops and tablets. As we continue to wait out this pandemic, why not elevate your technology time to discover new hobbies, accomplish a lifelong goal, or best of all, expand your social circle to include other people who are also confined to home?
Here are just a few ways to connect with others over the next few months:
- Go to the head of the class. According to researchers, seniors who take college courses increase their cognitive capacity and reduce their risk of dementia. Online Schools Center connects older adults to top-line online universities offering a variety of degrees, whether you want to increase your skills or enter a new career in your golden years. For something more low-key, St. Louis Oasis, which focuses on lifelong learning for seniors, offers virtual classes covering everything from Introduction to Acting to St. Louis history.
- Crack a book and join a club. There’s no better time than now to catch up on all those books sitting on your nightstand or discover a new literary adventure with your fellow seniors! Both the St. Louis County Library and St. Louis Public Library systems offer virtual book clubs via Zoom spotlighting different genres for every bibliophile. Plus, you can order digital copies of each month’s book through Hoopla, the libraries’ digital media service. If you’d like to support a local business, Left Bank Books in the Central West End hosts online book discussions and author visits throughout the month.
- Find new ways to enjoy your favorite hobbies. Because of COVID-19, many businesses had to pivot how they offered products and services to their customers, which has been a benefit to those hanging out at home. If you have a hobby you love, you can easily find a company that provides online activities. Edwardsville Art Center and the St. Louis Artists’ Guild host Zoom art classes throughout the month. Crispy Edge offers online potsticker making workshops. Most St. Louis yoga studios provide virtual classes for all comfort levels. Follow your favorite businesses on social media or check out the Events option on Facebook to find activities that fit your interests.
- Make a difference in your community. A global pandemic means St. Louis nonprofits had to cancel their fundraising events and galas, losing thousands of dollars in the process. However, many have made the switch to online events to provide supporters with a fun night of interactive trivia, entertainment, beer tastings, and other activities right at home. Check out those charities you support to register for upcoming events or visit the Charity and Causes section of Eventbrite.com to find nonprofits whose missions align with your passions.
- Get into your comfort zone. With the stress and anxiety that come with social isolation and a never-ending news cycle, sometimes you just need to skip social media and find those sites that provide a soothing escape. WindowSwap, for instance, lets you view the world from the inside of homes across the globe while Jigsaw Explorer releases a new virtual puzzle each day for you to master.
Although the Internet keeps us connected like never before, it doesn’t mean we still don’t ache for in-person contact with those we love. If you feel overwhelming feelings of loneliness, loss or depression, contact the team at AccuCare Home Health Care of St. Louis at 314-692-0020, and we can refer you to a therapist who specializes in working with seniors. Or, use an online counseling app like Talkspace or BetterHelp that can connect you to a therapist anywhere in the world, any time of day.