We older adults are the most vulnerable to the virus. According to the CDC that’s anyone over 60. I’m well beyond that, at 92 (technically 91 and 51 weeks). We are stuck at home. If we are a widow or widower we may be alone and lonely.
As I work on creating these opportunities for myself, I want to share with you some things that are working for me, to stay active, to stay connected with my family and keep my mind busy.
Organized Video Conference Calls
Thanks to my son Michael and daughter Ellen, our family is going to connect using the video conferencing platform Zoom. Zoom is free for video calls between two people, no matter how long. For three or more people, you are limited to 40 minutes on the free plan. But that’s plenty of time for us to do daily check-ins.
Sign up at Zoom.us. If you can receive emails or texts, you can use Zoom. The person setting up the call with send you a link—click the link to join the call. If you are not sure, ask one of your family members to do a “practice run” before the big family call. They can be on your landline with you to walk you through accessing the zoom call on your smartphone or computer.
In my case, my adult children have offered to make a schedule to ensure that someone is checking in on granddad every day. Talk to your family about that.
And, if tech/video fails, pick up the phone! Even Zoom has a call-in option. If you can’t join by video, there is always an alternative phone number to call in.
Keep Active and Exercise
I know I need to be active, but I do use a walker now and need to stay safe. I’ve been walking back and forth along the hallway in my condominium building—it’s definitely a far cry from the beautiful Chicago Botanic Garden where I usually take my strolls. But it’s a start. Then I mentioned my concern about exercise to my friend, marketing partner and group exercise instructor Deanna.
Her first video about incorporating exercise into your eating and drinking, was great fun. I think it may have been a joke, but for me, the “lift and drink” using my Ginger Ale was helpful. I can already feel my shoulders getting stronger. And, because I asked, she made a new exercise video using music from my favorite group, The Weavers.
For grandparents, don’t be afraid to ask for help or ideas for how you are adjusting your life to the new situation. And, for family, friends and neighbors, don’t underestimate how even the littlest things can bring joy to someone’s life.
You can try both exercise regiments at the end of this post.
Find something you like do.
And I really mean, when you can’t sleep. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being nervous. This is a deadly disease, particularly for people who are older.
For me, I am keeping up with the news, but sometimes it’s good to turn the news off and take a break. I’m not one for reading novels, but I will play solitaire or games on the computer—something to keep my mind busy if see myself starting to perseverate on the current situation.
That’s what I got. But what about you?
Have you set up a plan for who will call the grandparents—so someone is reaching out daily? If there four grandparents, that might take some planning. If you are nearby, your own grandparents or even others in your neighborhood who might be isolated—ask if they need food or medicine. Those types of outings are considered essential—but they are more dangerous for someone who is older. Offer assistance where you can.
Amazon is still up and running—have the whole family pick a book to read and then discuss it by Zoom. Agree to all watch the same movie on the same night. Talk about it together.
The reach out is to take care of the need for food, medicine, use of technology, to have family members take turns for contacting at least two calls a day, all family members, grandchildren, adult children,
But whatever you do, plan it as a family. Don’t assume someone else is reaching out and calling. Plan together to know that no one is alone, even if they are alone.
Exercise Tips for the 90 and Older Crowd