Seniors are some of the most vulnerable populations when it comes to a public health risk like COVID-19. As we face the threat of COVID-19, we already know that seniors are at risk of more severe side effects of the novel virus.
But an intangible challenge seniors face is the isolation and issues social distancing and the stay-at-home order can cause. For many, going out to the local health club for a low-impact workout or attending a community function or event help thwart feelings of loneliness or disconnect. Sometimes seniors live alone and the only contact they have with others is when they go out to attend an event, class, or social gathering.
It’s harder than ever to get their “social fix” when it’s important to social distance and remain at home to reduce the risks of contracting and spreading COVID-19. Virtual programming is one way seniors can connect to their friends, family and others without increasing the risks associated with the pandemic.
When a senior is feeling isolated during these times, they key to finding connection is literally at their fingertips. A handheld electronic device like a phone or iPad or a computer is the bridge to social interaction when social distancing rules are on.
A good start is understanding how to use these devices to get the interaction desired. It’s great to hear a loved ones’ voice when a senior is looking to connect, but it’s even better to see a friend’s face or a grandchild scampering around in the background of a FaceTime call.
In addition to using video phone calls to connect, there are many virtual options out there by organizations that can facilitate some of the same events a senior might have gone to before the stay-at-home order. Instead of actually attending the event, a senior can connect by clicking on a link to join a virtual chat room or by taking a virtual tour of a museum.
Virtual exercise classes are another way a senior can participate and be active despite being confined to home during this time. Ochsner Fitness Center offers free On Demand senior fitness classes—meaning you can press play and follow along at any time, day or night, to do the same class they might have done in person a few months ago.
Another great option for seniors is listening and watching a lecture online. Ochsner Fitness Center offers two different lectures a week that are geared to the senior community. The center tackles such issues as geriatric depression, how to lectures like how to order groceries online or how to download helpful apps and services, as well as Q&A sessions with insurance companies that offer benefits for seniors.
Ochsner Fitness Center is on the forefront of offering virtual solutions for seniors. On Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m., Ochsner Fitness Center will host a low impact senior exercise class. There is also a weekly nutrition lecture. The center will also a host a stand-alone virtual lecture on a topic of interest to seniors. Gaby Tabora, the Ochsner Fitness Center Membership Retention Manager, has organized topics including: virtual museum tours, how to access them from home and an example of a tour; how to avoid internet scams, fall prevention, Seniors Safe At Home Checklists, stress reduction, which stores offer senior grocery shopping hours during the COVID-19 risk, and more!
To learn more about Ochsner Fitness Center virtual senior programming, email firstname.lastname@example.org.