The restrictions caused by COVID-19 have also had a silver lining: many seniors and their families became more comfortable and skilled using telehealth, making video calls, and taking advantage of today’s technology. For example, my 85-year-old client, Claire, not only became proficient with Zoom to chat on a regular basis with her adult children and grandchildren, she also joined several active Facebook groups in her community and signed up to attend virtual concerts and plays in her community.
“Of course, it’s different from going to a concert hall and hearing the symphony in person,” Claire told me. “But since some live performances were canceled, this was the next best thing. My grandson bought me a great wireless speaker for my tablet, so the sound is perfect! That got me interested in downloading music that I listen to all the time now.”
Besides watching concerts, musicals, movies, and plays, people with an Internet connection can visit online exhibits at museums and zoos, take a virtual tour of national parks, explore different countries, even scuba dive, view Earth from space, or see Mount Everest from a helicopter. There are thousands and thousands of possibilities, many at no cost. Another client, Mark, discovered an outlet for his passion for photography.
“I found a Meetup group for amateur photographers, and we have an online meeting every Saturday,” Mark said. “At some point we may meet in person at a local library, but right now with the variant infecting so many people where I live, it’s better to meet online.” The group members share and critique their work with each other, and this not only motivates Mark to spend time on his hobby, it also helps him feel less lonely.
Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays has ended and winter is setting in, our connections to others become even more vital for our mental health. Exploring the world virtually is not just great for seniors; it’s also a practical alternative for people with disabilities and young parents who can’t easily get out, people who can’t drive, and those who lack the financial means to make their dreams a reality.
“I doubt I’ll ever make it to Africa and go on a safari, which I always wanted to do,” Claire said. “But I can put on my headset, go on a virtual safari, and pretend I’m really there.”
If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 803-215-1019 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to assist!