Check in with someone every day - In the past, it was recommended that someone should call the elderly members of their family every day. However, at a time when the younger generations are often overwhelmed with their jobs and children, making phone calls to an aging parent day-after-day, year-after-year, can become an overwhelming task. Today, there are other ways to make sure everyone in your family is doing OK.
Make an effort to see people - It can feel so comfy, cozy and safe in your own home, you may avoid getting out and seeing people. This is especially true today when it is so easy to have everything from your groceries to your clothing delivered directly to your door. Why leave your home when it can be tiring and feel unsafe? However, it is absolutely essential that nearly everyone makes an effort to get out and see others, when they can, and feel safe doing so. It can be as simple as waving to a neighbor and chatting from 10 or 15 feet away. You may also want to find a friend that you feel safe seeing, such as a neighbor who also lives alone. Perhaps you can take a walk together, or sit outside and have a cocktail in the evening. It is nice to know that someone would immediately notice if you did not show up for a planned walk or chat.
Get involved in your community - This can mean taking classes, volunteering, attending a place of worship, or joining clubs. The advantage of these activities is that they will keep you busy, keep your mind active, and help you build a group of people who care about you and who will worry if you stop showing up. You will make friends with people who have similar interests. You will learn to care about them and watch out for any unexpected changes in their lives. This is the basis for seniors helping seniors. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many charities and political organizations offer ways to help them virtually by making phone calls, doing fund-raising, writing postcards, sending text messages or promoting them in other ways.
Local senior centers will reopen after the quarantine ends - Although you may not be able to visit them during the pandemic, eventually senior centers will reopen again. They are located across the United States. They offer wellness programs, exercise classes, useful information, assistance with common problems, and other services. Some of them even offer low-cost daily lunches, which are a wonderful way to get to know other people in your area. They also offer social events and field trips to local places of interest. It is a fun way to find friends who are interested in attending plays, museums and concerts. You could also volunteer at the senior center, which can be a lot of fun. The more effort you put into spending time there, the more benefit will get out of your local senior center.
Host a social event in your home, once people begin to get together again. - If you want to get to know your neighbors or club members better, there is no better way to do this than to hold a social event in your home. I have hosted annual block parties at every home where I have lived since my husband and I were in our 20s. As a result, I still stay in touch with old neighbors from places where I have not lived in decades. I have never regretted hosting these occasional events. Depending on what is easiest, you can invite a group over for morning coffee, lunch, dinner or evening cocktails. A potluck dinner is fine, if you do not want to provide all the food, or if you know that some of your guests have allergies or may prefer different types of food from what you plan to serve. You do not have to do it often, but try to entertain a small group at least once or twice a year. You will get to know your neighbors better at an informal social event. A few of them will reciprocate by inviting you to their social events. You will go from being acquaintances to becoming friends. This actually keeps you safer, because people are more likely to look after neighbors they know and consider friends.
Stay in touch with people - Perhaps the most important thing you can get out of the above activities is building a large support group of people. However, they will quickly fade away if you do not stay in touch. It is not enough to attend a concert with a friend and then never see that person again. You have to nurture these relationships. You have to take the lead. Do not wait for someone else to do it. Do more than your "fair share" in the relationship.
Share contact information with several friends - If your nearest family member lives in another state, it is wise to share their contact information with several of your friends and/or neighbors. Then, if something should happen to you, your friends and neighbors will know who to contact. Nothing can be more frustrating than to realize that a friend of yours has had an accident or serious medical event, and you do not know how to contact their adult children, siblings or other relatives. It is thoughtful to share this information with a small circle of friends. You should also let your out-of-town relatives know about the friends who have their contact information and would contact them in an emergency. Then, if they receive a call from a stranger, they will know that you gave them the information.
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