Times have changed, and the last couple of years in particular have brought about transformations most of us would never have imagined in our lifetimes. Seemingly overnight, we transitioned from life as usual to being prohibited from going to work or school. Suddenly, venturing outside our homes was not only a potentially frightening experience but altogether forbidden in many cases. Though things are slowly returning to something that resembles the pre-pandemic norm, socializing still isn’t considered as safe as it once was.

Family Friends outdoor party

Keeping Seniors in the Loop without Placing Them in Danger

Socialization is essential for people of all ages. It helps prevent anxiety and depression, keeps us from feeling lonely and isolated, and can even help keep our minds sharp and our wits intact. Unfortunately, senior citizens often lack the socialization they need to keep them happy and healthy.

This has been especially true during the pandemic since being in close proximity to others can potentially be a life-threatening venture for those who have compromised immune systems and other health issues to deal with. Whether they’re living in independent senior living apartments or aging in place at home, there are several ways seniors can safely socialize with friends and relatives.

1) Make the Most of Technology

Modern technology has given us numerous ways to communicate without being in the same room or even the same country. On the most basic level, regular phone calls and text messages can help ward off all the negative physical and emotional effects of isolation. Social media chats are also an option. If you have an elderly loved one who doesn’t have a phone, supply him or her with one. Beyond the basics, video chats have gained a great deal of steam lately. They’re not quite the same as getting a big, warm, long-awaited hug from a loved one, but they’re certainly better than being utterly alone and feeling forgotten.

2) Get Together Outside

Spending time outdoors offers plenty of health benefits, not the least of which are improved immunity, reduced risks of anxiety and depression, and warding off the impacts of vitamin D deficiencies. Getting together outside also provides ample room for socialization, and outdoor group activities have been deemed safer than indoor ones during the current pandemic. Plan for a nice picnic or barbecue with friends and loved ones or simply slather on the sunscreen and meet up at the park to talk. Just keep in mind that limiting outdoor time is recommended for seniors.

Nursing homes often organize field trips so that their residents can enjoy the outdoors safely and comfortably. People from the American Dream City like to put their parents in a home for assisted living in Arlington knowing they’ll always have someone to socialize with both indoors and outdoors. Making sure the elderly get some fresh air is one of the reasons why a nursing home is a good idea.

3) Exercise Outdoors

Dozens of outdoor exercise opportunities are at your disposal. Since the pandemic, a number of gyms and other organizations have added outdoor fitness activities to their lineups. You could even venture to a local park to go for a walk. Quite a few lifelong friendships have been forged through chance meetings at the most unexpected times.

4) Use Your Mask

In-person gatherings aren’t illegal at this point. They’re simply not recommended without taking the proper precautions. You can still have friends and family over for visits. Just stick with the CDC’s guidelines for wearing a mask, washing your hands, and staying six feet apart.

Don’t Let Yourself Lose Touch with the World

Gathering with a large crowd in a small room and no mask isn’t a good idea right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to let isolation and all its dangers take over your life. Talk to people on the phone. Set up video chats. Schedule outdoor gatherings or join an exercise class that meets outside. Get together with loved ones while proudly sporting a stylish mask. There are plenty of ways to stay connected without sacrificing your safety.