All Posts in Category: Motivation

A woman uses tips for supporting senior independence while having a loving interaction with her senior mother.

Tips for Supporting Senior Independence With Thoughtful Care

What if your mom, who’s always had a green thumb, decides she wants to redesign the family garden? Though she might move a little slower than she used to, her enthusiasm for gardening hasn’t waned. This can be a great opportunity for you to step in—not to take charge, but to support her vision, perhaps by providing tools that make gardening easier for her to manage. Supporting senior independence and helping your parents pursue their interests is so important. Here’s how you can work together with your parents to help them continue to live life on their terms:

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Best Online Resources for Savvy Seniors In 2021

More information than ever is available to you on the internet, and more seniors are using tablets, phones, and laptops to gain access to the wealth.

Whether you plan to retire, continue working, change careers, take a course or volunteer, the details are available to you online. Here, we’ve compiled some of our favorite sources of information about these enriching opportunities!

 

Education & Travel

Remain curious about the world and you’ll stay more mentally agile (and young at heart). Here are a few websites offering seniors free courses or tailored access to travel and learning:

Academic Earth

If you didn’t get the ivy league education, now is your chance. Academic Earth is a straightforward portal offering a curated and unparalleled collection of free online courses from the world’s top universities.

Road Scholar

Founded in 1975, this not-for-profit organization’s mission is to inspire adults to learn, discover and travel. Road Scholar “designs learning adventures with engaged learning instructors that provide extraordinary access for seniors and stimulate discourse and friendship among people for whom learning is the journey of life.”

Tailored trips (both foreign and domestic) are also arranged for large and small groups with experts offering their knowledge throughout the trip. There are also online adventures and virtual lectures available. The group rates help make the packages offered more affordable.

 

Action & Volunteerism

One of the biggest issues seniors face as they become older is remaining feeling a sense of purpose. As more seniors live longer, remain active, and comprise a larger share of the population, their role in the greater good becomes even more important. Your version of purpose will need to intersect with your interests and abilities. Here are a couple of options to help get you started:

Elders Climate Action

“The mission of Elders Climate Action (EAN) is to mobilize elders throughout the United States to address climate change while there is still time to protect our grandchildren and future generations.”

This nonprofit organization keeps seniors informed with ways to get involved, including an action tool kit, monthly online calls, and other resources including things to do with your grandchildren.

Americorps Senior

This federal agency connects individuals and organizations to help tackle the nation’s most pressing challenges. The list of ways seniors can volunteer is expansive, including helping a child to read, delivering groceries to someone who is homebound, and offering assistance to others impacted by natural disasters. Americorps reports that every year they help match 200,000 volunteers with service opportunities.

 

Health

Perusing the internet for information about your health can be a slippery slope that leads to anxiety as you wonder if your symptoms mean disease X, Y or Z. However, there is knowledge to be picked up so long as you understand your situation is unique and you should consult with your doctor.

If you seek both information and support for a specific condition, consider checking out groups that use Facebook as their way to communicate with each other. The one thing Facebook does well is offer groups an easy way to connect and communicate. There is a group for almost every health issue from diabetes, heart failure, to high blood pressure.

The Mayo Clinic

An easy-to-navigate website, The Mayo Clinic is an organized portal with information about all-things health. Simply search the topic of interest to you and you’ll find content that covers the basics, and also access to more robust information if you want to dive in.

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

This organization is a premier source of information about the science of healthy aging, and Alzheimer’s disease and Alzhiemer’s disease-related dementias. The NIA reports that scientists and other experts review the content to assure it is evidence-based and accurate before it is published. You’ll find the top subjects of interest to seniors up front on their main page, but can easily dig in and explore other health topics from their rich database.

 

Lifestyle

The good news about so many more people falling into the over 50 group is that more companies are stepping up to address the needs and interests of older people than ever, for example:

AARP

You remember when you first got mailers announcing you are now eligible to join AARP for discount programs, services, and free information? You might have groaned to realize you reached the milestone, but this organization does offer a robust level of information for free!

If you join with an inexpensive membership, the additional benefits stack up, too. You can save on auto insurance, glasses, and many other services. If you plan to continue working further into your 60s, you’ll find resources to help you stay up to speed on employment opportunities and how to have fun in your downtime no matter the lifestyle you’re living.

Sixty & Me

This online magazine features a global community of over 500,000 women over the age of 60. The content covers everything from fashion and makeup products to retirement planning and senior dating as well as games to play in your free time.

You can get a real sense of community at Sixty & Me because the contributors of the articles are of all ages and walks of life. The founder, Margaret Manning, offers videos every other day about subjects meant to spark conversation within the community.

 

Work & Money

Retired Brains

Retired Brains is a comprehensive and independent source of information giving seniors advice to support “quality of life, financial stability, and opportunities for continued growth.” In addition, there are ideas for work from home jobs, part-time gigs and entrepreneurial opportunities.

The Money Alert

Everything about personal finance (no matter your age) can be found at The Money Alert. The website is well-organized with the latest news about investments and retirement planning spelled out for you to quickly review. Their mission is to provide highly reliable financial advice without bias. Topics include investing, real estate, legal issues, insurance and more.

 

Fun

All work and no fun makes one dull, so be sure to incorporate fun and relaxing activities into your days. Groups abound to join online as well as at your local senior centers and libraries. Here are two online tools we love:

Meetup

The website Meetup organizes online groups that host events. People start groups and then make announcements that they are looking for people to join them. Most of these groups and events are free to join, too.

Suddenly Senior

Suddenly Senior is an online e-magazine that, in the words of the founder Frank Kaiser, “takes a humorous look at Geezers who’ve become senior before their time.” The website touts 4,000 pages of humor, nostalgia, senior advocacy, and useful information for people 50+. There are new articles weekly.

Did we miss one? Let us know!

 

Bibliography:

https://academicearth.org/universities/

https://www.roadscholar.org/

https://www.eldersclimateaction.org/

https://americorps.gov/serve/americorps-seniors

https://www.mayoclinic.org/

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health

https://www.aarp.org/

https://sixtyandme.com/

https://www.retiredbrains.com/index.html

http://www.themoneyalert.com/

https://www.suddenlysenior.com/

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Let’s Talk About Anxiety In Older Adults

We accept that certain things occur as we age: our metabolism slows, our skin wrinkles, our eyes see less clearly. 

What is less understood are the possible changes in mental health for seniors, especially around anxiety disorders. 

Anxiety is more likely to go overlooked by both the patient and the physician when it’s camouflaged by physical illness. Untreated anxiety can lead to cognitive impairment, depression, poor physical health, and lower quality of life. 

Per the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation, “anxiety affects 10 to 20 percent of the older population though it is often undiagnosed. Among adults, anxiety is the most common health problem for women, and the second most common for men, after substance abuse.”

Anxiety disorders are largely misunderstood by seniors and may be a source of embarrassment. Plus, seniors are more likely to believe that emotional problems are a weakness of character best resolved on their own. 

Here, we highlight what anxiety is, how to spot possible symptoms, and a broad look at the range of treatments. 

 

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure. The real problem is in determining the difference between normal anxiety and a possible mental health issue, because some level of anxiety is part of being human. 

In any dangerous situation we face, our brains respond with an alert. Anxiety is a mechanism meant to protect us that, once ignited, can become a vicious loop of illness. 

The problem with anxiety (also known as “fight-or-flight response”) is that it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy of brain activity. We feel anxious regarding particular triggers, even when the triggers are no longer a danger to us, and then cycle back to that emotion again and again. 

Anxiety impacts people of all ages, but seniors come to it with a unique perspective. During their lifetime, the topic of mental health has changed quite a bit. What was once taboo is now much more acceptable. 

It has only been in recent decades, however, that society has looked upon mental illness not as a weakness but an imbalance requiring treatment. By the time seniors today experience symptoms like excessive worry or fear, avoidance of social situations, poor sleep, and hoarding, it’s likely that they’ve endured the symptoms for a lifetime. 

 

A History of Our Understanding of Anxiety

Anxiety disorder manifests in varied ways that are often unique for the individual. For seniors who are more isolated or less active, the symptoms tend to increase, because there is no social source to help recognize the issue. The irony of untreated anxiety disorders is that they produce more of the same behaviors which lead to more anxiety! It’s a vicious cycle. 

Anxiety has been cloaked in misunderstanding for thousands of years. When Greek philosophers pondered it in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, they surmised it was associated with women. In fact, the word “hysteria” derives from the word uterus. From there and through the Victorian era into the 19th century, hysterics were the realm of the ladies. 

Then, after the American Civil War, doctors recognized something they termed “irritable heart syndrome” in men after they returned home from the war. Today, that illness is known as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Finally, fast forward to the 1950s when talk therapy became popular. The use of drugs and psychotherapy continued to evolve, and the language of mental health became more familiar in society’s vocabulary. By the 1980s, the term anxiety disorder was officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.

 

Anxiety Categories

With time and study, the mental health profession has refined and identified anxiety disorder categories and how they may manifest in individuals. There are several, but the most common forms of anxiety for seniors include: 

Phobias: An intense fear of a place, thing or event that isn’t truly a threat. Some phobias are fear of heights, fear of enclosed spaces, and fear of germs.  

In elders, a certain social fear commonly with age where a person feels embarrassed about the inability to remember names or the like. Some physical symptoms of social phobia that can appear in these cases include heavy sweating, heart palpitations, shortness of breath. 

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): Constant obsessive worry about a wide range of things from personal health to family issues or the fear of impending disasters are considered GAD. Symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, irritability, nausea, and difficulty sleeping may surface in these cases.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A person who suffered physical or emotional harm (to themselves, or if they were a witness). A person experiencing PTSD might experience flashbacks. People with PTSD sometimes also feel emotionally numb between episodes and find it difficult to feel affection for others. PTSD often shows outwardly with someone who loses interest in things and becomes aggressive or violent.

 

How to Talk About Anxiety with Your Health Care Professionals

Because anxiety so often goes untreated, it can become the gateway to other mental disorders including depression and cognitive impairment. There is a close association of anxiety and memory, for example. 

People dealing with ongoing anxiety sometimes have underlying health issues such as chronic fatigue and syndrome, too.

The key to getting answers and treatment for anxiety is to discuss persistent symptoms openly. If you receive home care, talk about your concerns with your health care professional in order to get tips and advice for how to take the discussion to the next level. 

 

Treatment Options

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment to remedy anxiety. Each person’s care must be tailored to their situation. Learn about your options and then work with your doctor to decide what steps to take. 

Anxiety.org offers extensive information on the many treatments available. If you feel overwhelmed once you’ve spoken to your doctor or mental healthcare experts, consider working with an Aging Life Care certified professional. He or she will help you weigh the options and manage the communication between all your medical care providers.

Most treatments for anxiety require assistance from medical and mental health care staff in tandem. The most common treatments fall broadly into these areas: 

Professional Therapy: A number of these therapies involve talk with a mental health professional. Patients work through their anxiety symptoms and identify the underlying triggers and practice coping skills. Therapies run a gambit of types, including cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and even hypnosis. 

Medications: Pharmaceutical research is ongoing. The current drugs available for anxiety-related ailments include antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and beta blockers. None of these are intended to be used without some form of talk therapy as well. Working with a psychiatrist or counselor is part of the treatment mix, and anti-anxiety drugs are not generally intended to be used indefinitely. 

Brain stimulation: Therapies have advanced dramatically since electroshock therapy of the 1950s. Today, brain stimulation treatments are often done under anesthesia and are targeted with the use of electrodes and electrical stimulation of areas of the brain. 

Self-help: A big step in resolving anxiety disorders comes with knowledge. Be your own advocate and explore self-help books, meditation, diet and nutrition, and exercise as avenues to alleviate symptoms. 

 

Learn and Talk About Mental Health

The ongoing push in the mental health field has been to normalize the conversation about anxiety. Teaching the public that there is no shame in having mental health problems is an ongoing effort. 

Your doctor can’t help you if you don’t talk about the symptoms you experience. The good news is that there are many treatment options available, and you don’t have to endure the pain of an anxiety disorder silently.

 

Bibliography:

https://www.aagponline.org/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=anxiety

https://www.anxiety.org/treatments

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Is it Loneliness? Recognize the Possible Signs of Silent Suffering

John Prine’s beautiful song “Hello in There” details the story of a man who has lived many years. As the song unfolds, we learn that his wife has died, the kids have moved away, and he has even outlived one son who died in the Korean War. 

The chorus speaks to the reality of what it is to be human and to age. Trees grow stronger, rivers wilder, but sometimes old people just grow lonesome. And with each passing day, as time moves ever so slowly, a person left alone simply waits for someone to say, “Hello in there, hello.” 

2020-Q3-Nurses 3-Is It Loneliness 1Although Prine wrote the song when he was 22, his insights into one of the more insidious issues of aging rings true. In the United States, the reality of living alone and becoming isolated go hand-in-hand for many seniors. Per Merck Manuels, “Nearly 29% of the 46 million community-dwelling older adults live alone. About half of the community-dwelling oldest old (>85 years) live alone, and about 70% of older people living alone are women, and 46% of all women age >75 years live alone.” 

But being alone and isolated does not always equate with the state of feeling lonely. In this post, we’ll make the distinction, then highlight the underlying health impacts and call out some of the signals you can look for as a health care provider.

A Silent Threat

Being able to articulate a sense of loneliness is a two-part problem. Someone can be feeling it, but be unable to explain the “what” and “why” of the experience. And honestly, even uttering that we feel lonely comes with negative connotations that we’re some sort of social failure. 

In the fascinating article “Is There a Medical Cure for Loneliness?” over at AARP, author Lynn Darling explains how loneliness is primal. We were built to respond negatively to being on our own. At a cellular level, alarms go off. 

Darling details how scientist Steve Cole looked at the white blood cells of people who had expressed dealing with long bouts of loneliness, and discovered that their cells “appeared to be in a state of high alert, responding the way they would to a bacterial infection. It was as though the subject’s body were under mortal assault by disease—the disease of loneliness.” 2020-Q3-Nurses 3-Is It Loneliness 2

This biological response to loneliness makes all the sense in the world given that we are social beings. We need to feel connected and have purpose that is assigned, shared and recognized by others. Loneliness is indeed a disease all its own with a reported impact of nearly one-third of all adults over the age of 45 reporting feeling lonely. 

And for older adults over the age of 65, and more reasons people live alone such as the loss of a spouse, plus the onset of health issues like diminished hearing and eyesight, loneliness is at its worst. Loneliness comes more often when people have diminished social contact and are more isolated from daily activities and interactions. This happens more often with older adults. 

2020-Q3-Nurses 3-Is It Loneliness 3

Is it any wonder that such a notable biological response would impact a person’s physical health, especially over time? Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), loneliness can impact or cause series health problems, including a 50% increased risk of dementia, a 29% increased risk of heart disease, and a 32% increased risk of stroke.

Look for Signs

Once our white blood cells are ramped up due to that pervasive sense of loneliness, it trickles to our brain and to our thinking, signaling us to be on alert and causing us to draw away further away from others due to lack of trust. Loneliness becomes a loop in our thinking process. 

As humans, the disease of loneliness is an issue for everyone, but in a roll as a caregiver for patients there’s an opportunity to be that first-line of defense and help. Look for any of the following changes with someone in your care:

  • Expressed sadness or feelings of despair
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, socializing or daily activities
  • Sleep disturbances or memory issues
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Neglect of personal hygiene and other routines

Resources

As a care provider, you might be the person who most often sees these changes first in a client, and can bring your concerns to the attention of the family members you report to. You can explain that this is something many deal with and there are ways to provide support. 

Be prepared to offer a list of resources available to families and seniors. The CDC provides a great list of resources, including Eldercare Locator which is a free national service that helps families and elders find local resources such as financial support, caregiving services, and transportation. 

If you work with a professional organization such as Home Health Companions, you’ll also have access to a dedicated team of knowledgeable staff who can help you. Together we can work to destigmatize the disease of loneliness, and by helping others we also help ourselves. When it comes to loneliness, none of us is spared from its impact.

Bibliography:

https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/geriatrics/social-issues-in-older-adults/older-adults-living-alone#:~:text=In%20the%20US%2C%20nearly%2029,%E2%89%A5%2075%20years%20live%20alone.

https://www.aarp.org/home-family/friends-family/info-2019/medical-cure-for-loneliness.html

https://www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/features/lonely-older-adults.html

https://eldercare.acl.gov/Public/Index.aspx

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Make It Fun to Stay Connected with Elders in Your Family

 

As distressing as the feeling of uncertainty during this pandemic is, the most heartbreaking ordeal is the inability to get together with loved ones. Everyone is feeling the void of not being able to gather in person, but it can be even harder on seniors who have to be extra careful about distance.

Not only can’t older people spend time with their families, but other social activities have been curtailed or cancelled as well. Although the situation is challenging, there are many ways to connect with family and help soften the blow of separation. Here, we provide a list of tools to use along with some ideas to help you think about making your connection time more fun than ever in order to carry us all through the dry spells.

Tech tips and options

Once limited to the phone and snail mail, these days we can communicate instantly through our computers, phones and tablets. If you or your elder family are concerned about managing the setup of the technology, consider hiring someone to help or ask your tech-knowing family members to assist.

For seniors in retirement communities, there might be staff available and ready to assist with setting up devices to ensure they are simple to access. This could mean making sure the font is larger on the screen and the volume is louder, too.

For those with an in-home care service such as Home Health Companions, arranging your tech for video conferencing can be managed with your companion professional.

Your connection tools

Here is a short list of video conferencing tools to consider:

  • Zoom Meeting – This platform has been particularly popular these days, and it is also user-friendly. Decide who will organize the meetings, and then set regular dates to chat. Zoom has a 40-minute limit in the free version, but you are able to have more than one person on a Zoom call.
  • WhatsApp – This is a great application for visiting via video or voice, and it’s simple to open and use.
  • Facebook Messenger – This product can be simple, but a lot will depend if you and others are on Facebook.

If it’s the device that’s the issue, consider one designed with seniors in mind. One example is the GrandPad. This tablet is streamlined to provide access to applications in a straightforward format that makes it super easy for the user.

Email: It’s hard to believe that email is considered old-fashioned these days, but it is fairly easy and a direct way to communicate digitally. Although you don’t have the immediacy of video, regular emails can be a wonderful way of keeping in touch with your elder.

Snail Mail: We’ve lost our way when it comes to the joy of sending and receiving real letters. These days, sending cards and handwritten notes can be a marvelous way of connecting with someone, particularly anyone who has voiced feeling lonely. Think about asking questions and inviting a letter in return. Encourage your children to become pen pals for seniors in the community. Everyone can send artwork, too!

Get into online learning and activity

Over at Everyday Health in the article “Socializing in Place: Tips for Older People to Stay Connected and Safe,” author Quinn Phillips offers up several suggestions of online learning resources available including Coursera and even Harvard. To Phillips list, I’d add YouTube Learning, which offers videos on any subject you can imagine.

Another way to enjoy interaction with others is to explore online book clubs such as those listed on AARP. Also, check in with the groups you attended before the pandemic, and see if they are currently meeting virtually. You might be surprised at the local activities that offer connection via video chat.

 

Mix in creativity for added fun

The tools are available, and the interest is there, but creating a steady routine with purpose can heighten the excitement about visiting with a loved one. Making a plan of your calls and messages gives everyone something to look forward to, and that is a heady salve to feeling lonely.

Here are some ideas harvested from a number of sources, pulled together here to give you inspiration to make your connection extra meaningful:

  • Storytelling time photos: Make each visit a time to reminisce and share stories. You might pull out the old pictures and albums and ask questions, for instance. Who are in the pictures? What is the story behind each photo? Hold up the images during a video chat and see what stories the pictures inspire.
  • Intergenerational tutorials: Over at Franciscan Health in the article “5 Ways to Connect with Elderly Loved Ones From a Distance,” they suggest making regular visiting time an opportunity to learn something from each other. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn to knit or crochet. Or maybe, it’s time to talk about the recipes and the secrets that make family favorites so good. Perhaps this will become a series of tutorials? Consider recording the videos (you can do this via Zoom) and sharing them with more friends and family later.
  • Virtual craft time: On the heels of the tutorials, you might want to spend time crafting from a distance. If your elder works on a project while you work on a project, make it a time you chat while you craft together virtually. People who are in knitting circles or coloring groups know that there is a relaxing quality to gathering to do creative things together (and letting the conversation go where it will).
  • Connect with ongoing newsletters: Honor someone you love by asking them questions about their past and family stories they’ve heard, and then record their answers. Share the answers with family and friends. Make each response a newsletter blast to selected recipients and then invite them to send more questions and comments to the storyteller.

Play games online together

Certainly, there are many games that can be played online individually, but for this post, we’re focusing on those that can be interactive.

  • KimKomando suggests Backgammon, among others, for which there is a free PC or Mac version.
  • Guide for Seniors provides a robust list games, and those you can play with others include chess, Multipopword, and Mahjong.

These are indeed challenging times, and we are all growing weary, some of us even getting a little stir-crazy from not gathering like we used to do. But we have the technology tools to make connection possible, and with some creativity we can stay in touch and make memories just the same.

 

Bibliography

https://www.grandpad.net/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/coronavirus/socializing-in-place-tips-for-older-people-to-stay-connected-and-safe/

https://www.youtube.com/learning

https://www.aarp.org/entertainment/books/info-2020/online-book-clubs-to-join.html

https://www.komando.com/tech-tips/best-games-for-people-over-55/565893/

https://guideforseniors.com/blog/senior-online-games/

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6 Signs You’re Going “Isolation Batty” and What to Do About It

You already know that each new stage of life comes with new adventures.

In the times of COVID-19, however, we’re not so much in a new “stage of life” as we are all enduring a shared period of isolation. If you’re feeling a bit batty these days, we can just about guarantee it has little to do with you and a lot more to do with being human and alive in the times of lockdown and a pandemic.

That part about being alive is where we start in our discussion today. But just being alive is no longer enough. To make sure you live as well as you can, let’s dive into the six signs that you might be suffering pangs of “feeling batty” due to extended time in self-quarantine. 

These signs are a little anecdotal, but you can easily tweak the details to see if they’re symptoms you can relate to. You’ll get the idea. Fill in the blanks for your personal situation to see if what’s “got you” is really cabin fever.

  1. Your pet is suddenly a great conversationalist.
  2. You and your dog are in sync, both fascinated by what passes by your window. (You find yourself by his or her side on the couch, sitting the wrong way, craning your neck to get a better look past the curtain.)
  3. You’re napping more than your cat.
  4. You have no pets, never wanted any, but all the sudden a pet seems like a good idea.
  5. You’ve cleaned everything in your home and are now on your second time through. This time you’ll organize everything by color.
  6. You’re dreaming you live in quarantine.

So, what can you do about it?

For starters, you can contact us at Home Health Companions. We can provide not only the care but the companionship you need to feel more grounded in this unprecedented time.

Leading up to and between your appointments, even when you’re feeling over-the-edge, it’s important to remind yourself that this is temporary. Your goal is to stay safe and healthy.

Still, a boost to help you muddle through—and yes, even improve your mood—is possible, so here are our favorite ideas of actions you can take starting now. 

Learn something new.

This idea is shared along with an extensive list of other, equally valuable notions at Sixty and Me in the article “Stuck at Home? 20 Fun Ideas for Women to Do at Home.” And gentleman, the list of suggestions easily applies to you as well, so don’t let the title fool you.

We can all attest to how learning ratchets up your brain activity while helping time fly by. This is especially true when you stretch into areas outside your wheelhouse. Plus, learning something new helps you discover more things about you, too, which is a good thing if you’re spending most of your time with yours, truly.

Any number of learning opportunities await you with free online courses, too, via portals like Udemy and Coursera. You can explore these websites and scout out which is best for you in the article “14 Free Online Courses for Senior Citizens.” The tips are truly informative for a universal audience, whatever the title says!

Learn the tech you’ve always said you couldn’t learn.

And as long as we’re on the subject of learning new things, you could make learning something tech-related your goal. You might have said (and even believe) that you can’t learn to use your computer, phone, or tablet beyond what you know now, but you truly can if you have the right resources and take your time.

Sometimes what holds you back from becoming more skilled with technology is simply the wrong instructor. You know which ones we’re talking about—the impatient trainers who talk too fast and don’t offer steps to the process. 

Over at Aging in Place, the article “How to Become a Tech-Savvy Senior in 10 Days” offers you the basics of why learning your tech can help you enjoy access to the world of information. The article also provides resources that will help you learn in the way that works best for you.

Virtual dinner parties and happy hours.

This is an enormously popular option that can open a world of possibilities to keep in touch with people near or far. You can get together with friends and family using so many simple tools that don’t even require tech savvy. Facebook has something available in their Messenger application for video chats, for instance. The free application called WhatsApp is super easy. Zoom Meeting also works well and has a free version, too.

The point isn’t so much what you do during these virtual visits. You can get creative and will find that time flies when you meet. Just as important is that you plan the virtual visits and fill up your calendar. Scheduling fun in your future is a HUGE boost to your spirit and helps you keep feeling grounded in this bizarre time we’re living. 

If you are trying to avoid eating too much food during quarantine, make your virtual gathering hinge on something else instead. Book club? Karaoke? Dance party? That’s right—play tunes you and your group love and just shake it out!

Teach it, record it, and share it online.

If you’ve got a skill or talent, it’s time to share how you go about doing that thing. Seriously, you could be the next YouTube phenomenon—although that’s not really the point. It’s easy to get started creating videos and then uploading them to your own YouTube channel. 

Do you know how to knit, draw, or play an instrument? Maybe you love to read aloud or recite poetry. Record it and share it. Really, it’s not about finding the big audience but reaching out to your own audience of friends and family. They need something other than the news to watch, and if you have something to share—from family stories to how to change the oil in your car—offer step-by-step instructions in a video and hang it on your proverbial wall.

Join a group.

This might seem strange given many of us are currently in quarantine, but check out Meetup.com where groups form to share their interests. For example, you’ll find book clubs, knitting groups, writers and a wide variety of other groups looking for people to join them. Given the pandemic, many have migrated to creating virtual events that you can join in a click.

Make someone’s day with snail mail.

Remember you are not alone. You have friends and family in the same isolation boat with you. And, especially if you’ve been around for a while, you know how to write a letter. Some would say it’s a lost art. Drop a note in the mail and surprise someone. Write some thoughts down. Tell a story. Do something kind for someone else, and that will help you even more.

Your goal today and every day is to focus on what is right in front of you. We are living in historic times, but there are many advantages available to us as well. Finding outlets in learning, digital tools and connecting with others will help you find the bright spots and avoid that “batty” feeling. Hang in there!

 

Bibliography:

https://sixtyandme.com/stuck-at-home-20-things-to-do-if-youre-trying-to-avoid-the-coronavirus-covid-19-over-age-60/

https://www.aginginplace.org/how-to-become-tech-savvy-for-seniors-in-10-days/

https://www.zdnet.com/article/why-dont-more-people-over-60-have-youtube-channels/

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