Staying Connected and Keeping Resilient

This year many of us are preparing to enter a very different holiday season.   Now more than ever it is important to find new ways to stay connected and keep a positive frame of mind.  Keeping connected is not only great for keeping our spirits raised, but it can also be key to maintaining our personal well-being.  Isolation among older adults can have an especially devastating effect on mental and physical health, but also on the immune system.   Here at Shaker Pointe we’ve been able to provide many opportunities for positive engagement.  Things have changed, but we are still able to gather safely in our community.  Residents can come together for a current events discussion, enjoy educational presentations on our big screen, or gather in small teams for a virtual Wii bowling competition.  Our community has adapted internally, but we know how hard it can be for families to keep connected.  We’ve identified three areas to help you connect and cope during this difficult time.  Here are some of the ways you can be creative while harnessing resilience at home!

The Tech Connection

  • Pick-up the phone and keep in contact.  Try setting a regular time to talk every week with family or old friends.
  • Try texting.  If you have not quite gotten the hang of texting, now is the time to learn!  Many younger generations rely solely on this form of communication.  Reach out to your grandkids and impress them with your Emoji and Gif skills.
  • Get face-to-face with video.  Seeing a loved one’s face can make all the difference and there is no shortage of applications or devices in our homes today!  Some of our favorite video applications are:  FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Google Duo, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.  If you have an Echo Show you can use Amazon Alexa to video call as well.
    • Get creative on your video calls.
      • Have a story time with your grandkids and read from their favorite books
      • Host a virtual meal and set your device on a stand to chat over dinner.
      • Host a watch party on Netflix so you can watch your favorite shows together
      • Attend a virtual service together.  Many houses of worship are still streaming their services online.  Attend with family.

Low-Tech Connections

  • Keep in contact the old-fashioned way by sending a card or letter.  Many of us no longer take the time to write our loved ones.  A card in the mail is now a treasured gift!  Looking for someone to write to?  Reach out to your local school.  At Shaker Pointe we’ve established a great pen pal program with Shaker High School Seniors.  Bridging the gap between generations is a great way for us all to learn more during this time of change.
  • Send a care package to your loved ones.  Put together a themed gift of essentials or specialty teas and hot chocolate.  Any personal touch is sure to brighten someone’s day.
  • Find out where your loved ones like to shop or dine.  Many places are now delivering.  With just a few clicks or a phone call you can take care of dinner or send over necessary essentials.

Cultivate Resilience

According to the University of Arizona’s Center on Aging, the concept of resilience in aging was “born out of the paradox of old age.”  Despite the losses and physical declines we may face later in life, many older adults report feeling content.  The research argues this is due to a resilience and the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, and significant sources of stress.  Here are a few ways we can all practice the behaviors of resilient aging and increase our ability to cope with difficult circumstances.

  • Maintain an optimistic view and take a ‘silver lining’ approach.  Take the long view understanding that ‘this too shall pass.’
  • Push yourself to engage in new activities, meet up with your social groups in different ways.
  • Accept what you can’t control and take action on the things you can.
  • Practice stress-management techniques or develop a spiritual practice.  Even mindful journaling can be therapeutic.
  • Maintain perspective, and don’t listen to the negative thoughts.  How fortunate are you to have ______.
  • Practice self-care by maintaining proper nutrition, regular exercise, and good sleep habits.
  • Volunteer your time to help others.  When we are helping others, we are helping ourselves too.  Reach out to organizations you’ve worked with in the past and find out how you can help while keeping safe.
  • Ask for help when you need it.  Reach out to family, friends, or a neighbor when you feel overwhelmed.
  • Look for the lessons you can learn from each situation.

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