It may be some time before the Covid vaccine lets us return to a physically social life, but in the meantime, I encourage the families, caregivers, and seniors that I work with to maintain their friendships and social ties as much as possible. Strong, supportive relationships are not only emotionally satisfying, they can also help you live longer. When people feel supported and cared for, the beneficial physical effects may include reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and lowered stress hormones. Even the immune system gets a boost.
Technology has certainly helped my clients and their families stay connected during quarantines and lockdowns. FaceTime, Zoom, and other digital platforms can be used for meetings with family and friends when in-person meetings are not possible or practical.
“My daughter gave me a tablet for Christmas, and taught me how to use Facebook so I can see what the grandkids are doing,” said one of my clients, age 82. He feels less alone because he can communicate with relatives, some of whom he hasn’t seen in quite some time. He posts photos that he takes with his smartphone, and has joined some Facebook groups of other people who enjoy photography.
And of course, online dating is different these days, but is still a means to connect with potential partners.
“I’ve been using dating apps during the pandemic, but I haven’t actually met anyone in person yet,” said one of my clients, a senior living on her own. “Once the virus rate goes down, there are a few gentlemen I’ll see in person. Just for coffee at first, though.”
I’m happy to hear that technology makes it possible for seniors to meet each other, but I always caution men and women (of any age) to be careful and go slow when they meet someone online. There are many scammers out there, and one big red flag is when you meet someone online and they ask for money. Another red flag? The person claims to fall for you immediately. Take your time with an online relationship. You can always do some digging on Google as well, and check out the person’s background. It’s a way to protect yourself.
That said, the digital tools we have can help us, no matter what our age, to stay engaged with other people and learn new skills. One of my senior clients recently discovered online cooking classes; another has signed up for an online painting course. Whatever your interests are, you can take advantage of technology to expand your knowledge, meet like-minded people, and keep your mind and heart occupied during these difficult times.
If you or someone in your family are facing aging challenges, please give us a call at 850-894-6720 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to assist!
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