The pandemic has massively interrupted the routines of many seniors. With group activities shut down, many seniors are struggling to keep themselves physically, mentally, and socially active. The lack of activity has caused many older adults to become isolated and lonely, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety. Younger generations have turned to the internet to keep themselves mentally and socially active during this time, but seniors can absolutely benefit from this too. If you have a senior in your life who could benefit from online socializing, here’s how to get them started:
Sort Out Your Technology
Before you get a senior started on the Internet, ensure that they have a basic understanding of how to navigate the hardware. Using a computer, tablet, or smartphone are all skills that a senior may not already possess, so it’s best to slowly walk them through these devices and their uses.
Many retirement living communities in Canada have identified the importance of online socializing, and their staff encourage and teach seniors how to use technology.
After sorting out how to use the technology, there are a few online activities that seniors may want to consider:
1. Learn a New Language
Learning a new language has been shown to have a myriad of positive mental health effects. For seniors in particular, learning a new language has been shown to delay the onset of dementia, and may even help stroke victims to recover faster. Getting started with learning a new language online has never been easier.
Many online videos will slowly walk viewers through the basics of a language’s structure, pronunciation, and grammar, and will allow seniors to set their own pace. If they feel like they need extra help, there are paid online courses available as well, where seniors can connect with both an instructor and fellow students while learning.
2. Join an Online Fitness Class
Physical activity is closely tied to improved quality of life in seniors, but with group fitness classes now put on hold, many seniors may be finding it difficult to exercise and keep themselves physically fit. This is where online fitness classes come in. Some fitness instructors are now offering online classes through apps like Zoom, allowing seniors to continue working out with a group of people. This also allows instructors to guide seniors in real-time, preventing injuries and over-exertion.
3. Join a Hobby Group
Having a hobby is another important part of maintaining your mental health, especially for seniors. Research has shown that people with hobbies are generally happier and more relaxed, resulting in better mental health. For seniors, this means a lower chance of developing issues like dementia or Alzheimer’s.
While face-to-face meetings aren’t safe at the moment, plenty of hobby groups have found ways to still connect with one another despite this hurdle. Apps like Zoom have successfully allowed activities like book clubs and paint nights to continue, which are perfect for seniors that are looking for something to do. Having to meet regularly as a group also gives seniors an incentive to keep up with their hobby, helping them to continue maintaining their mental health.