This is a scary time for everyone. For Seniors, losing their connection to your Center in the face of mandated closings and social distancing is not only scary but
dangerous. We all know the benefits of socialization on health and happiness. Heck, it's why we all do what we do. We've had the pleasure of speaking with hundreds of Centers
over the past few days and heard some creative ways to maintain that feeling of connection in a socially distributed environment. We've captured those here
so that others across the Network can benefit. If you have an idea that isn't captured here, please let us know and we can send out another of these next week. In addition
to the ideas below, we've included some MySeniorCenter-related tips on the left panel.
Welcome to...Fun Facts - the Keep Socialization Alive edition
Many Centers have moved their congregate lunch program to either take-out or delivery. If you include a bingo card with each of those meals, you can play remotely later. We heard from a Center
in NC who is doing exactly that. They're going to get a free conference call service (freeconferencecall.com, Zoom or UberConference are all good), use Voice Connect to broadcast the call-in number
and time and have a game! I don't think anyone will mind if prizes aren't awarded. You can also use this option to discuss books, trivia challenges, have prayer groups and other conversation-based programs. It'd
be like the old shared party lines! No computer or special equipment needed, just any phone will do.
Parterning with your local cable access station (if you have one), is a great way to continue programming on a schedule. We've spoken with a few Centers that are having their morning exercise
classes, afternoon book reading, drawing classes and more broadcast out on television for people to follow along at home. Use Voice Connect to let people know the time and channel.
If you don't have a cable access station in your area, the internet has a solution for you. Both Facebook Live and YouTube Live Stream are great options. If you already have a Facebook
account for your Center, here are the instructions for setting up a live stream. For YouTube, this
instructional video is good. It's a similar idea to cable, just set up a webcam and stream your content at a
scheduled time. Let your participants know via Voice Connect how and when to access.
Pre-recorded programs work well too! We spoke with a Center in Maine that has emailed out over a dozen links to videos covering yoga, story time and cooking tips.
Scheduled programming is an excellent way to keep people to a routine. If you are unable to do that using the tools above, here are some content options you can share on your website, Voice Connect
broadcasts, email blasts or Facebook page:
- Google Arts & Culture has hundreds of online museum tours
- Keep the brain active with online games
- From 3:00-5:00pm ET every day, the Cincinnati Zoo will be offering virtual tours through their Facebook page
- Little Free Library is a book-sharing source in many communities throughout North America. Check out their map here
- Suggest a movie or show that everyone can watch on television or Netflix,
and then have a conference call the next day at a scheduled time to discuss. There's a Netflix sharing option called Netflix Party
that works well for this, but requires each participant to have a computer.
- The Institute on Aging has the only accredited crisis help phone line specifically for people 60+. More info
None of these options can replace the benefits of coming to the Center, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. If you tackle this hurdle with the same energy and passion with
which you usually operate, you can ensure the health and safety of your Seniors. Good luck getting through this and
let us know if you have any other creative ideas that we can
share with the Network.