As some of us are now getting back to normal activities; we know getting out will come with restrictions, such as social distancing, wearing of masks, etc. Given the level of quarantine so many have experienced as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, this seems a reasonable compromise. After all, it has been since Mid-March that the stay-at-home restrictions began for residents of New Jersey and other States. Fortunately, by the end of May, some New Jersey restrictions have slowly started to be lifted. While many are looking forward to moving toward what has been described as the “new normal”, we must not forget about an important portion of our population that may not feel they are quite ready to get back out there.
One of the most unnatural things for us to do as human beings is to distance ourselves one from another. We are social creatures, and this does not change because we get older. Even so, many who belong to at-risk groups related to exposure of the corona virus, which include those aged 65 and older, may be hesitant to go back out and mingle. ¹ Many in this group may feel that they need to continue to self-isolate for a while longer. If you or a loved one falls into this category, then this article has been written especially for you.
These tips will never replace human contact – nothing can. However, there are activities that can provide social and mental stimulation, along with a genuine level of entertaining engagement with others. The goal is to share ideas that will give you options that will turn into a set of activities, leading you to a more restful, healthier, and stimulating social lifestyle. Not to worry - nothing offered here will require you to violate any social distancing rules.
For each of the 7 days, you are given a variety of choices to fill your week, that can be mixed and matched depending on how you feel, both physically and mentally on a given day. There is a total of 6 areas that include activities designed to take care of the whole person; body, mind and spirit. This will mean different things to different people. With just a few good ideas, you’ll be set on a path to feeling energized and in control.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
- Fruits and vegetables – eat them fresh whenever possible
- Whole grains - found in bread, for a natural level of energy
- Only unsaturated fats, by drinking skimmed milk, eating baked skinless chicken and using sunflower oil spread instead of butter – helps keep cholesterol levels low, and reduces the risk of heart disease
- Limit cakes and other sweets – only in small amounts and eaten occasionally
- Enjoy limited portions of fresh meat, fish, beans and eggs for protein
- Stay hydrated! Drink water, unsweetened coffee and tea -Adding a few small slices of lemon can add a refreshing twist to a glass of water
- For those who are not going outside should be certain to take vitamin D. To help with this, on a sunny day sitting next to an open window, in a garden or on a balcony from 15 to 30 minutes can do wonders. For any time longer, please remember to apply ample sunscreen ointment. If you haven’t been out in a while, you should limit direct sun exposure to 30 minutes.
In the case where you have limited access to fresh food, frozen or canned versions can offer a convenient and nutritious alternative. Please keep in mind, canned foods can often come with a high salt level, and so by reading labels you should be able to select those with lower amounts of salts and fats. Cereals, nuts and seeds also provide a protein-rich snack.
You should always practice safe food habits by washing your hands, lathering with soap for at least 20 seconds before and after you have prepared food, along with sanitizing food containers that have just arrived in your home prior to use. Don’t forget to greet anyone coming to your door with your face mask on.
Fun idea: Once you’ve established a solid diet regimen, hold a virtual dinner party, where each person makes a similar dish, and each person enjoys it at a preset time.
For more details, go to https://www.eufic.org/en/healthy-living/article/10-tips-to-eat-healthy-during-quarantine-or-isolation-covid-19
2. Exercise Regularly
- Take walks outside or take short walks inside with a light weight in each hand (1 to 5 lbs). Make sure the area inside has proper lighting
- Climb stairs
- Perform stretching ³
- Work with light weights by doing short sets with each arm
- Sit to stand – standing up from a chair without using your hands
- Single leg stand – while holding on to a sturdy chair or the wall, left one leg for up to 30 seconds, and then repeat with the other leg.
You may not be able to go to the gym or Adult day center, but you can still do things at or close to home. These exercises may appear easy, but should be approached slowly, with the goal of working your way up to a standard routine with different exercises on different days. Also, and most importantly, each of these should always be performed based on how you feel on a given day. Remember to always listen to your body.
For those who are Silver Sneakers members, they can go to https://tools.silversneakers.com/ to access the on-demand library of exercises offering classes, workouts, and how-to videos. ²
3. Reading and Board Games
- Read online news and/or magazine articles
- Read a book to yourself or to a relative, such as your grandchild during a phone call each week. This could be done more often if you have more than one grandchild, or to a group all at once. Relatives can also call-in and read to you.
- Solve puzzles
- Play word games
- Play card games with actual playing cards or online
- Play board games, such as checkers, scrabble or chess
Reading, solving puzzles and/or playing board games can be done alone, with others over the phone, or online. If you do choose to involve others, you would have the opportunity to benefit from the joyful challenges of friendly competition. For other great gaming ideas, go to https://guideforseniors.com/blog/senior-online-games/
4. Arts and Crafts
For some, this is something you might not have done for years, and had been thinking about doing it again. For others, this may be an entirely new experience, and isn’t that the point really? Starting a new hobby could be very rewarding and exciting. Try these:
- Free hand drawing
- Brush or finger painting
- Drawing by the numbers
- Writing – short stories, letters or poems
- Stamp collecting
Many how-tos for these examples and others can be found by going to www.youtube.com.
You will probably find one activity more enjoyable than the other. For each activity you take part in, can be the basis of a project first to be started, worked-on, improved-upon and then completed. This could offer you a great deal of personal satisfaction. You may end up inadvertently beautifying your home in the process!
5. Watch your favorite show or take in a movie
Search your favorite streaming or cable network for your favorite movie, tv show, documentary or music concert. If you can’t find it, let the network help you - most provide selections by category. There are great selections to choose from both old and newly created works. Many classics have been remade, which can be viewed and compared against originals, then discussed with friends and family members.
In addition to your local cable network, there are other alternatives, such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and others. Keep in mind, you must have an internet connection in order to access networks that provide streaming. For additional assistance on the technical side of things, you may need to contact your internet provider.
6. Take a virtual trip:
Taking a virtual tour can allow you to go somewhere you didn’t dream possible!
The Louvre, the world’s most visited museum now provides virtual tours, go to https://www.louvre.fr/en/visites-en-ligne for events, times and to schedule.
Sistine Chapel – take a tour in Italy and see the great works of Michael Angelo and others. Go to http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/en/collezioni/musei/cappella-sistina/tour-virtuale.html for events, times and to schedule.
Yosemite National Park, in case you’ve ever wanted to travel to California’s Sierra Nevada region. You can see the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, the top of the half dome, and the Yosemite Falls to name a few. Go to https://www.virtualyosemite.org/about-virtual-yosemite/ to find out more.
Van Gogh Museum, with the largest works of Van Gogh is housed in the Amsterdam Museum. You can see if for yourself by going to https://360stories.com/amsterdam/oldamsterdam/story/vincent-van-gogh
The Great Wall of China speaks for itself. This historic attraction, now more than 2,000 years old, has 3,000 miles of walkable sections where tourists are allowed to visit. Go to https://www.thechinaguide.com/destination/great-wall-of-china to take your very own tour.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, located in our nation’s capital. Take your own self-guided, room-by-room tour of exhibits, which include Butterflies, Fossils, the last American dinosaurs, the universe and more. Go to https://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour to sign up.
Yellowstone National Park, known for its amazing views and historic landmarks, showcases the beauty of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Go to https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/virtualtours.htm to see how you can travel to out to the American West, right from your living room.
San Diego Zoo, the most visited Zoo in the U.S., is known for its open air, cageless natural habitats. They have set up livestreams of its habitats for anyone to view the koalas, baboons and penguins. Go to https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/live-cams and enjoy!
British Museum, the world’s oldest national public museum has partnered with Google Arts and Culture to allow visitors to roam the halls and see exhibits, sculptures and more. You can do so by going to https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/the-british-museum.
It’s important to understand, while the use of technology can be challenging at times, as has been shared in this article, there are many online tools designed just for you. It is up to you to take the steps necessary to enhance your at-home experience. We hope you will!
This article was made available as a courtesy by Community Assurity Group®. To view this article and others, please go to www.communityassurity.com/blog
- Many Medicare Advantage plans offer silver sneakers as an added benefit. The program gives access to member fitness centers. For other great exercise ideas, go to https://www.silversneakers.com/blog/daily-exercises-older-adults/