Seniors and Community III – 6 Ways to Stay in Community
For two weeks I have looked at the idea of community; first at the positives of being in community and then exploring its opposite, social isolation, and the potential problems that can cause. Today, I will be looking at ways, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors can stay in touch with individuals and groups.
Before we march forward, let’s first take a step back and look at why community is important. We’ve touched on it, but it’s important to revisit and lay an even firmer foundation. When I started my research for this series’ final article, I googled “ways to stay in community” and got 2.2 billion hits. I’m guessing community, and not just for seniors, is important. Frances Moore Lappe, known for her best-selling book, Diet for a Small Planet, says community is “nurturing human connection … We humans wither outside of community. It isn’t a luxury, a nice thing; community is essential to our well-being.” We know what the positives and negatives are, so now let’s look at some simple ways, digitally and otherwise, seniors can nurture and be nurtured.
- Zoom – For personal use or business you can use it for a 1 to 1 visit for free or subscribe to it. Free works for me. Seniors can keep up with grandkids, friends and anyone else. However, a computer is a must. Go to zoom.us for your free download. Be sure to visit with their support team and sign up for free training. Go to zoom.us and check it out.
- Facetime -This is a proprietary product developed by Apple for smartphones and their Macintosh computers. I use it on my iPhone. This technology allows the caller and responder to see each other while talking over the phone. If you don’t know how to use it, go to Youtube and type in the search bar, ” how to use facetime.” You will get several thousand tutorials on how to use it.
- Social Media – This would include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, too many to list here. According to Pew Research, approximately 40% of adults over 65 use at least one form of social media. They say, too, that this figure will grow.
- Texting – Simply put, it is the ability to send electronically, alphabetic and numeric messages to individuals or groups. The task is most often associated with cell phones.
- Skype – Like Zoom, you can chat with others and see them at the same time. The service is free if both parties have it. You can learn more at skype.com.
- Landline – It may be a bit old fashioned, but it works. Pick up the phone, dial the number, talk. Simple. Effective. Free.
Because of the corona pandemic, I have focused today primarily on ways to stay in community by staying inside. There are, of course, numerous other ways to nurture, be nurtured and stay connected. My suggestions are merely the tip of the iceberg. Once this contagion has passed seniors and others will be able to again meet for coffee at the local diner and play chess in the park. I look forward to when social distancing is no longer the norm.
My list today focused on services that are mostly free. Of course, you can subscribe to the bigger packages offered by Zoom and others. Also, I have listed only a few of the more popular and better-known services. There are more and one of those may better fit your senior’s needs. I only hope you find a way to stay connected and in community.
I’d love to see your comments on community and what you are doing to stay connected. Perhaps you can share a way to stay connected that has until now been overlooked.