By Alison Wood, Contributing Writer
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us all to be more limited in what we can do and where we can go. However, due to the fact that they are particularly vulnerable, seniors have been a highly affected group during this long period of social distancing. Whereas before an average week might have been broken up by visits or outings, now one day can seem just like the next.
Experiencing depression and loneliness due to the COVID-19 pandemic is a very real thing. (CLICK HERE to read about a study conducted by Indiana University in regards to older adults and COVID-19 depression.) So, it wouldn’t be unusual for a senior to experience some COVID-19 blues. All is not lost, though, as the online world gives us access to more people and more places than ever before— albeit it virtually, via our computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Here’s our round-up of websites that can inform, educate, and entertain. While many of these websites are particularly helpful for seniors, the majority can be enjoyed by all ages.
Websites for keeping in touch
First, it’s important to remember that, even though we are physically distanced, we can still connect with loved ones virtually. Today, that’s easy and often free to do through websites like Zoom and Skype. Via these websites, we can be miles apart and still talk face to face.
There are also ways to send instant messages to our friends and families. If you have a smartphone, you can download Messenger, Voxer, WhatsApp or a variety of other applications to help you keep in touch. It’s the little daily “check-ins” that can help us feel more connected and less alone.
Websites for getting social
The world of social media is also a great place to make connections and find information. For example, Facebook has a wide variety of groups that can help caregivers to connect and feel supported. (CLICK HERE to read our article on Facebook groups specifically designed with family caregivers in mind.)
Whatever you are interested in, it’s worth doing a search on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest to find topics and resources that are a perfect fit for your lifestyle. Naturally, social media is also another great way to keep in touch with friends and family.
Websites for exploring the world
If you are interested in history, natural sciences, or art, the pandemic has prompted many museums and galleries to take more of their exhibits online. You can go to the website of a particular museum or gallery you are interested in and see what they have available. Or, if you just want to see what’s out there, this article is a great place to start. It outlines 12 museums from around the world who are offering virtual tours.
Websites for connecting with nature
One aspect which has been missing for many seniors during the pandemic is a connection to nature. If you are an animal lover, then you can now access wildlife around the world via webcams. Explore.org makes viewing animals the world over easy. You can watch elephants at a watering hole in Africa or view eagles in Iowa, along with much more, simply with the click of a button.
If you are interested in the conservation work of zoos, many are now offering virtual access as well. For example, Brookfield Zoo, home of the Chicago Zoological Society, runs daily live events on its Facebook page. You can also search online for a zoo near you — or you check out a zoo on the other side of the world!
Websites for being entertained
Want to watch some TV programs from yesteryear or discover some new documentaries? Then head to YouTube for a surprising range of video content.
If music is more your passion, then check out the bands, orchestras, and choirs that are offering virtual events the world over. Billboard.com offers an evolving list of what online events are happening when.
Websites to learn crafts, games, and recipes
Crafting, games, and baking are other good ways to pass the time enjoyably. For craft tutorials, The Spruce Crafts has an easily searchable site packed with ideas. For games and puzzles, you can head to the AARP website or Memozor.
The websites outlined here can help seniors stay interested and immersed in the world, right from home. Many of these sites offer so much information and entertainment that you might find yourself accessing and using them long after this pandemic is over.