During the coronavirus challenge, it’s important for populations at higher risk – older people especially those with underlying health issues – to practice ‘social distancing’ – but a scaled down social life doesn’t have to be a lonely one. Using the Internet can connect us with the people we care about and can bring us in touch with a wider world – both of which make us feel less isolated and lonely.
Recent statistics show that seniors are rapidly entering the social networks arena. Sign up for a network, connect with friends (you might even discover some old friends) and enjoy the results.
- Facebook – in case you’re not one of the more billion-plus people already using it – is a free online network where users register and create a personal profile. Add friends; exchange messages, photos, etc.; and check your newsfeed to see what the people you’re connected with are posting. Some people have discovered long-lost friends on Facebook (and some wish they hadn’t!).
- Skype lets you enjoy face-to-face live-video visits via the Internet, using a webcam or your computer or tablet’s built-in camera and microphone. You can download the latest version of Skype and connect for free after you’ve set up a profile and made or accepted contact requests with friends. (Click here for instructions on how to get started on Skype.)
- Zoom is a popular way to have face-to-face video chats with one or more friends and the website offers a lot of support, especially at this time.
Listen to Music
Experts say that listening to your favorite music can be extremely uplifting, especially when you listen to familiar songs.
- Pandora is free web service that plays musical collections based on your musical tastes. You can listen to pandora on your computer or via a free downloadable app on your tablet. Click here to learn more about Pandora on Senior Planet.
Going back to school is now just a click away. Even when you study online, you’re part of a community, and coursework can connect you to students of all ages who share your interests. Click here to see a list of free, Senior Planet-recommended online courses. And check out…
- Coursera, an online resource that partners with top universities and organizations offering online courses for free. The technology enables these educational partners to offer millions of students access to a world-class education.
Get a Pet- or Just Watch One
Studies show that owning a pet improves both physical and emotional health and is a sure way to beat loneliness.
- The North Shore Animal League is the world’s largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization; it allows people to see animals available for adoption and the times/locations for mobile adoption vans plus other ways to express your love for animals. (Click here to see more online resources for pet choice and care.)
Can’t have a pet? Check out Explore and view live webcams of cats, dogs, and wildlife.
Researchers at UCLA have found that seniors who practice meditation were able to reduce feelings of loneliness and also boost their immune systems.
- Sahaja Yoga Meditation offers free online course for the purest form of meditation through videos and audio guided meditations.
Got an online loneliness-buster you like to use? Share the info in the comments box below.