We’re isolated in our homes, and some of us are totally alone. Loneliness versus being alone can make us feel depressed and anxious, and increase inflammation in the body. That can have a detrimental effect on the immune system, which is exactly what we don’t won’t.
Grab a cup of tea, and discover some new fun ways to connect with others . . . and possibly even make new friends.
- Well Connected (formerly called Senior Center Without Walls), is a telephone-based national program that offers free weekly activities, education, friendly conversation, classes, support groups, and presentations to individuals 60 years or older anywhere in the United States for English and Spanish speakers. There are activities occurring throughout the day, every day 10:00 am-8:00 pm, Mountain Time, depending on the day. Sessions run between 30 minutes to one hour.
Play a game, write a poem, go on a virtual tour, meditate, share a gratitude, get support, and most importantly, connect and engage with others every day. Well Connected is a community consisting of participants, staff, facilitators, presenters, and other volunteers who care about each other and who value being connected. All groups are accessible by phone and many are accessible online.
Well Connected offers 75 different programs. People can join a particular group, call in the same time each week, hear the same voices on a regular basis and make friends. This has a positive impact on their emotional and physical life. “The gratitude activity, which is offered twice a day, is especially popular and well attended,” says Wade, Social Call director (see below). “Participants share something they are grateful for. This allows for an increase in social connectedness. We also have fun and intellectual programs that help individuals feel valued, stimulated and engaged, and sometimes we invite presenters from the outside in.”
Wade pointed out that Well Connected, is not just for people with mobility concerns. We get folks who are active, people who are married and individuals in a co-housing situation. Anyone can feel lonely, she says. “We take a survey every year and the results indicate that 85% of our participants feel more intellectually stimulated and socially connected. And on a daily basis, we get calls of gratitude from participants who say, ‘this program saved my live,’” says Wade.
Well Connected also offers a program called Social Call, in which volunteers call participants for a weekly phone visit. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877-797-7299.
Well Connected is an award-winning program of Covia, formerly called Episcopal Senior Communities. For more information: To register call 1-877-797-7299, https://covia.org/services/well-connected/
2. Do you like to play games? You can actually play Mahjong, Bridge, Monopoly, Clue, Poker, and more online. The 22 Best Online Games to Play With Friends During the Coronavirus Outbreak
3. Connect on a senior chat room. Discussions groups found on sites like SeniorChatters offer a way for older adults to engage in different topics online. Use these tools to meet other seniors from all over the world and discuss your favorite hobbies.
4 Join an online book club. If you’re a reader, consider joining an online book club. Celadon Books shares their five favorite book clubs that you can join online.
5. Schedule a Zoom meeting with family or friends. A “Zoom Meeting” simply refers to a meeting that’s hosted using Zoom, and attendees can join the meeting in-person, on a computer or phone. You can see all the people on small windows on the screen, and you can turn your audio off and on, to allow you to speak or mute background noise.
My family is meeting once a week and it’s fun. The kids tell jokes, we trade ideas for meals, and on our next meeting we’ll have a sing-along.
Before joining a Zoom meeting on a computer or mobile device, you can download the Zoom app from our Download Center. Otherwise, you will be prompted to download and install Zoom when you click a join link. You can also join a test meeting to familiarize yourself with Zoom. For more info visit How to set up a zoom meeting
Zoom Free: With the free version of Zoom, users can hold an unlimited number of meetings, but group meetings with multiple participants are capped at 40 minutes in length.
6. Connect on FaceTime your I-phone or Mac.
- Open the FaceTime app by clicking on the FaceTime icon in the menu bar or press ⌘ + Space and type FaceTime.
- If FaceTime isn’t already turned on, click Turn On.
- Log in with your Apple ID and password.
- To determine how and by whom you can be reached on FaceTime, go to FaceTime ➙ Preferences.
7. Connect the old-fashioned way by talking on the phone.
Barbra Cohn cared for her husband Morris for 10 years. He passed away from younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2010. Afterward, she was compelled to write “Calmer Waters: The Caregiver’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s & Dementia”—Winner of the 2018 Book Excellence Award in Self-Help—in order to help other caregivers feel healthier and happier, have more energy, sleep better, feel more confident, deal with feelings of guilt and grief, and to ultimately experience inner peace. “Calmer Waters” is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Boulder Book Store, Tattered Cover Book Store, Indie Bound.org, and many other fine independent bookstores, as well as public libraries.