Since we’re all staying home—and it’s looking like we will be for at least a while— you might be starting to wonder how exactly you’re going to fill up your time. Senior Planet has got some tricks up its sleeve with digital gatherings and events. But it’s also important to stay as connected as possible with family, friends, and neighbors, give back to your community, get the material supplies you need, and find new ways to keep yourself entertained.
This is the first post in our digital stuck-at-home handbook, a collection of articles with everything you need to stay informed, supported, and entertained in the days ahead. This edition covers some basic; future posts will go more in depth. Something you want to make sure we cover? Share your idea in the comments below!
Bonus: many of the following resources are also available as apps on your smartphone or tablet devices. Find the solution that works best for you.
A Basic Pre-req: Internet Access
The first step: make sure you, and your friends, have internet access. (Yes, we realize the irony of posting that on the Internet…) The number-one best way to stay connected and up-to-date right now is through home internet access, and fortunately, several companies offer low-cost options for seniors. We’ll be doing a more extensive post on that soon.
One thing to note: whatever internet service you choose, make sure it offers speeds of at least 25 Mbps so you can stream video.
To find an Internet Service Provider (ISP) in your area, use an online tool like BroadbandNow. Type in your zip code and look for “Residential Internet Provider.” But here are a few of the most common ISPs that offer special deals for seniors:
As for devices, Senior Planet generally recommends Chromebooks for a low-cost option, iPads for an upgrade, and desktop PCs for serious users.
Entertainment: Explore the World, Virtually
With a library card, you can continue to borrow digital resources like e-books, audiobooks, music, tv shows, movies, and more. Visit your local library’s website to find out which services they partner with. Now’s also the perfect time to check out video streaming services, download a few podcasts, or explore the depths of YouTube. Cultural institutions are moving exhibits and performances online too, but if you just need a break for something mindless and happy, animal videos are the way to go. The Cincinnati Zoo is offering daily Facebook Live video streams of Fiona the hippo, and Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium filmed its pretty adorable penguins roaming and visiting other exhibits after closure.
- See a list of museums and art galleries with virtual exhibits here.
- See a list of live-streamed concerts, festivals, and music performances here.
- The Metropolitan Opera livestream
Project Gutenberg also offers over 60,000 free e-books without a library card.
Food & Groceries: Try Something New
Most restaurants will allow you to call and place an order for delivery. But now’s a great time to experiment with services like Seamless, which allow you to order food from thousands of restaurants online (we’ll take ours with extra guac). You can also try a delivery service like Instacart, which connects you with a personal shopper who will take your custom grocery list, pick up all your items, and drive them to your door.
Not into having someone else handle your shopping? If you’re an early riser, Stop and Shop is now open from 6:00-7:30am ET just for people aged 60 and up.
Restaurant Delivery & Takeout
Health & Wellness: Put Your Mind At Ease
The whole reason we’re staying at home is to protect ourselves from a virus, but other health needs don’t get put on pause. Major pharmacy chains offer RX delivery, and Postmates, listed above as primarily a food delivery app, can pick up some basic pharmacy supplies for you. Meditation can also be a powerful tool during this stressful situation. Right now, the meditation app Headspace is also offering some free tools picked just for this time, and it’s offering totally free subscriptions for healthcare workers.
Meditation & Sleep
While you may not be thrilled about staying home, your animals are probably fans. Give them some extra pets, and use a service like Chewy, which delivers pet food and supplies right to your door. If you’re feeling anxious about walking your dog, or if you’re unable to, Rover can connect you with a reliable, highly rated dogwalker.