In these unprecedented times, many of us are feeling especially isolated. And it can be even harder for seniors, who are at a higher risk of getting sick, leading to even fewer opportunities to see loved ones. Fortunately, there are still a variety of ways older adults can add more socializing to their lives using modern technology. Whether you or your loved one is isolating at home or in a retirement community, here are three fun ways for seniors to stay social while social distancing.
The average American uses text messaging at least 41 times a day. And while it may feel impersonal to many seniors, creating text threads among loved ones is a fantastic way to keep in touch. Or you can add the Marco Polo app and take the text message concept to the next level. With this app, you can create a similar group/thread but instead of texting you send short videos. This is perfect for seniors who prefer to actually see what everyone is getting up to. It also gives them a visual element that they can revisit even after the conversation has ended.
While there are no specific “video games for older people,” there are several options that have become hits with seniors. Game apps like Online Chess, Jeopardy, Trivia, and Scrabble are great activities for older adults to exercise their brains, discover topics of interest, and keep in-touch with loved ones. Another great video gaming idea for seniors is the Nintendo Wii. The limited physicality required to play many of the games makes it a great indoor hobby for retirees to stay active and challenge loved ones, while the messaging feature allows for socializing between games.
Video chatting has become a lifeline for many of us this past year. With free video conferencing apps like Zoom and Google Hangouts, older adults can experience the next best thing to seeing their loved ones in person. You can even overlap some of our previous ideas into a video chat. With a little ingenuity, many of the classic in-person board games like Monopoly and Risk can be played over a multiperson Zoom chat.
If you choose to try any of these ideas, keep in mind that many seniors struggle with using modern technology and devices. It can also be difficult for seniors to see and correctly press the small buttons on a touchscreen. For seniors living in a retirement community, there are often staff members available to assist with setting up a video chat, video games, and other activities. Contact the team at your or your loved one’s community to find out if this service is available.
Visit the Milestone Retirement Communities blog for more tips and ideas on how seniors and their loved ones can stay connected while social distancing.