Health & Wellness Over 50s Lifestyle

Staying Connected to maintain our Mental Health & Well-Being

March 27, 2020
Staying Connected to maintain Mental Health & Well-Being

Staying connected to maintain our mental health and well-being is important especially as we age.  Keeping in touch with friends and family gives us the opportunity to talk, share our problems, enjoy a laugh or take the focus off our problems and we can take time out to enjoy the company of others. But how do we cope with the loss of connection as self isolation and social distancing become our normality?

This is particularly relevant for the elderly or retirees who once had an active social life and are now climbing the walls at home feeling bored, overwhelmed and ‘trapped’. As senior travel plans with friends may have been put on hold for now, we need to find creative ways to stay connected and entertained in these uncertain times. In collaboration with Retirement Now, here are five practical ways to do that:

5 ways to stay Connected to maintain our Mental Health & Well-Being

During this time of isolation, technology can be a positive tool and resource to help us maintain some outside contact with family, friends and the world. It can also be a way to maintain a healthy lifestyle – physically and mentally.

1. FaceTime with your Grandchildren & Family

One of the difficulties of self isolation is the limits it puts on seeing our grandchildren, our family and friends. This can have a detrimental effect on our mental health and well being. I sure miss the hugs and physical connection with my grandsons. However, using technology such as FaceTime can still bring us joy and daily interaction with our loved ones.

No mobile phone or computer? Back in the day we used the telephone to call people and although it might seem everyone has computers and mobile phones, there are some elderly who don’t. Remember to check in with loved ones, give them a call and have a chat.

2. Social Media Groups

There are many social media groups, particularly on Facebook who have increased their support and connection. Like-minded members are staying in touch, chatting and supporting each other on a daily basis.

3. Meditation Apps

Whilst connection with others is an important factor in our well-being, taking time to reflect, meditate and be mindful is also important. There are many apps available which provide guided meditation and breathing techniques to overcome anxiety and improve self-reflection.

4. Online Workouts

Staying physically fit has a positive effect on our mental health. As gyms and personal training sessions close temporarily, many have moved online. You can still workout in the comfort of your home and feel like you are in a class.

5. Virtual Book Clubs

Can’t get to your regular book club meeting because of COVID-19? Why not set up a virtual book club? My friend, Donna Connelly from Retirement Reflections recently told me that her book club were determined not to let the Coronavirus affect their meetings. They set up a virtual book club using Zoom and had members from several countries join in. Zoom is a free resource which will enable you and your friends to still have your meeting but in a safe environment. The free version only allows 40-minute meetings, but at least it is a start.

What are you doing to stay connected? Are you using technology in a positive way?

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31 Comments

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au March 27, 2020 at 11:42

    Hi Sue – I’m so grateful for the internet atm (even more so than usual!) My DIL has been sending us videos of the grandgirls playing on WhatsApp because it copes with big video files better than Messenger does. I’m also messaging my daughter and DIL regularly and chatting when we can. It’s so reassuring to be able to stay in contact virtually when physical contact isn’t possible. I’m also very relieved I have access to the Overdrive online library now that our local library has been closed due to the virus. You’ve given some other great suggestions to look into too x

  • Reply Donna Connolly March 28, 2020 at 12:38

    Hi, Sue – There are so many ways that we can stay connected, without breaking the boundaries of social distancing. I agree with the tips that you have listed here. Also, regular walks in our neighbourhoods allows us to see neighbours from afar, and tighten our bonds of social integration. Positive neighbourhood activities, such as Pot Banging to support our front line workers, also helps us to connect safely together. When we get creative, this list is truly endless.

  • Reply Debbie Harris March 29, 2020 at 16:23

    Hi Sue, our family is staying in contact even more-so than before using FaceTime and Zoom. My daughters send us photos of the grandchildren and we are in regular contact. My sister and mother and I do an exercise session together over zoom every day so that mum has contact with us and we know she is exercising. Walking and reading have helped keep me busy lately and I love my yoga now as well. Thanks for the reminders. xx

  • Reply Kathleen - Blogger's Lifestyle March 30, 2020 at 15:48

    Thanks Sue, As long as I can get out and walk every day, I am happy. Very thankful for the Internet too. Our Elise has chosen your post to be featured in the next Blogger’s Pit Stop 🙂
    Kathleen

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee April 1, 2020 at 06:55

    Great post. I have said that it would have been much worse when we were kids and there was only one phone in the house and not all these ways to connect!! #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2020 at 15:04

      thanks Lydia. We never had a car and didn’t have the telephone until I was at high school. Technology today can be used in such a positive way especially at this time.x

  • Reply Michele April 1, 2020 at 07:05

    I am normally an introvert and don’t mind staying home. However, I do feel a heightened sense of anxiety and find that I can reduce that by having more connections with people. I’ve made it a point to reach out to a number of different people and have sent cards to elderly friends. I regular Zoom and facetime with my daughters and siblings. I also just organized the first book club on Zoom and it went well. Today I am going to try my first on-line yoga!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2020 at 15:10

      HI Michele, I love Yoga with Adriene which is on-line however there are many Group classes starting up using Zoom which is a great way to stay connected. I’ve felt relatively at peace during this time but I know for many it is an anxious and stressful period in their lives. Take care and stay well.xx

  • Reply Rita A Towns April 1, 2020 at 07:15

    I like the idea of the virtual book club. That’s something I had not thought of. Thanks!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2020 at 15:09

      Yes my friend has had two meetings and they certainly have been a success. A new way of life for us all.x

  • Reply Enda Sheppard April 1, 2020 at 07:47

    Yes, social media and the various apps have really come into their own in this difficult time. Hope the wifi holds out in our house, hehe. #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2020 at 15:03

      That is the downside Enda our internet has been quite slow but the positive is being able to see my grandsons via FaceTime. Technology has been a very powerful tool during this time.

  • Reply Natalie April 1, 2020 at 08:39

    Hi Sue – Thanks for the reminders and technology suggestions. I stay in touch with my family and friends by phone, text or email just like before the pandemic. Most of my immediate family members live in the same metropolitan area with me and my siblings are working full-time so we haven’t changed our way or frequency of communication yet. I volunteered to check in and chat with my elderly neighbours. So far everyone is doing well. #MLSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2020 at 15:01

      We are fortunate to have technology Natalie and yes, for some who are still working life has remained relatively normal. It is lovely to see people volunteering to help the elderly and to keep some connection going for them.

  • Reply Min @ Write of the Middle April 1, 2020 at 10:20

    Great suggestions Sue! Thank goodness for modern technology right now so we can stay connected with loved ones. My Mum and my siblings have a group within FB where we chat daily and keep in touch. We also have another group with Aunts and cousins and are all in touch daily. A cousin of mine runs a meditation evening for us every Friday night on Zoom. I hadn’t even heard of Zoom before this. Whilst this pandemic is horrific and truly scary … it has brought us all together more than ever. Hope you’re doing ok. Stay safe! xo

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2020 at 14:59

      I’m glad you are connecting with your Mum and siblings, Min as I’ve been concerned about you. I think that Zoom has done wonders for everyone and it has changed lives for the better. No going back now!

  • Reply Serena | anythingbuttoast.com April 1, 2020 at 11:44

    Our book club is in the process of moving to Zoom, first meeting next Saturday!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2020 at 14:57

      Hi Serena, hope the Book Club goes well. I have a couple of friends who have taken their Book Clubs online and have had a ball! Enjoy x

  • Reply Christina Henry April 1, 2020 at 12:32

    In the last years of my dad’s life he lived in NZ while the rest of us lived here in Australia. Facebook Messenger on video mode was our main way of connecting with him. It was brilliant – it allowed us to see him and talk to him like we were in the same room. My brothers were unable to go to NZ but they both had conversations at least weekly with him and retained that closeness of connection that was so important. I was able to visit him at least yearly and towards the end, more often, but we still had frequent conversations over Messenger as well. Technology has come a long way and I think it is awesome at this time of isolation to have these new technologies available to us

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2020 at 14:58

      Hi Christina, Messenger is great as well as FaceTime and I’ve recently started using Zoom. It must have been wonderful for you and your brothers to keep that connection with your Dad when he was living so far away. We are so lucky to have technology in our lives which can be used in a positive way. x

  • Reply Jennifer Jones April 1, 2020 at 12:49

    Hi Sue disconnection doesn’t really apply to me as I’m still working. But other than work, we’re staying home. We had a Houseparty in-line last week. It was a great way to catch up. #MTSTL

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2020 at 14:55

      Hi Jen, people are becoming so creative aren’t they? Who would have thought there would be lunches, morning and afternoon teas and parties all conducted on line. It is such a positive side to what is happening. x

  • Reply Christine April 1, 2020 at 19:27

    Some great ideas here, Sue. I do hope that those who need these sorts of resources most actually seek them out and use them. There are a lot of people, including those who live alone, who must really be doing it tough. A lot of them rely on the internet which a lot of older people just don’t use.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2020 at 14:53

      Yes the older generation who aren’t ‘tech savvy’ will certainly be feeling the isolation. Fortunately my MIL is in an aged care facility which has had no positive cases of COVID-19.They are in lock down but arranging Skype for the residents to stay connected to family and friends. x

  • Reply Jennifer April 1, 2020 at 20:40

    It’s wonderful to live in an age like there where there are so many ways to stay connected, entertained, and otherwise engaged so we can stay inside and avoid physically being close to other people. I saw something on FB the other day that Anne Frank and 7 others hid in that attic for 2 years and they did it without all of the gadgets that we have today. And yet…we’ve grown so soft that people are complaining after a day or two. Or worse, ignoring all the advice, and sometimes even mandatory stay at home orders, and going out and congregating with people.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2020 at 14:52

      We are very lucky compared to previous generations aren’t we Jennifer. You are right though the society has become soft and also not willing to take direction. I’ve seen people flouting the social distancing rules and I just don’t understand why it is so difficult. If we all follow what we are asked to do then we might be back to some sort of normality sooner rather than later.

  • Reply Nancy Andres April 2, 2020 at 04:44

    Dear Sue, In these times of sheltering and social isolation to create a connection… one-on-one phone calls, Facetime, or Skype with friends and family I hold dear to be the thing I prefer to do the most. Thankful for technology, because so much of our daily business is now conducted online. Thanks for hosting #MLSTL. Stay safe, be well, and take care.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2020 at 14:47

      We are so fortunate to live in a time where technology can be used in a positive way aren’t we Nancy? I think that the isolation has actually made people more social through technology and it is wonderful to see. Take care and stay well, Nancy xx

  • Reply Lucia April 2, 2020 at 10:56

    Hi Sue,
    Connection with our community of friends and family is so important especially during this season of uncertainty. I just finished a Zoom call with 13 friends that usually meet every Wednesday night in my home for a Life Group. For two hours, we laughed, cried, prayed and encouraged each other. Be well!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric April 4, 2020 at 14:46

      Hi Lucia, it is amazing how everyone has stepped up and tried new technology to stay connected. Zoom has certainly been a game changer for those who are feeling isolated and alone. Take care. x

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