NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As isolation continues, it is the elderly who are the most likely to feel alone.
As CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge reports, social media is helping seniors endure social distancing.
“I’ll tell you what, I’m learning! I never used Zoom before all of this happened, and now I’m very much on Zoom,” said 91-year-old Betty Jones.
She’s seen it all over the years living in New York City, but never like this. For the first ever, Betty’s been forced to stay in and slow down because of COVID-19.
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“My family who live hither and yon have all been in touch, making sure that I’m not out running around,” she said.
It’s our seniors who are at greatest risk from coronavirus, but the social isolation measures meant to protect them come at a cost: Loneliness.
“It is true I have a couple of friends who feel very isolated,” she said. “Particularly for seniors. They can tend to feel alone often.”
To help stay connected, there are hotlines like The Friendship Line for people 60 and older, with someone ready to chat 24/7. They can be reached at 1-800-971-0016.
CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
All kinds of community programs have moved online, says care coach advisor Maura Horton.
“Whether that’s virtual book clubs or online exercise classes, Zoom dinner parties,” Horton said. “Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to be socially isolated.”
There are senior-focused online workouts, like Go4Life, run by the National Institute on Aging. For more information, click here.
Live concerts are also streamed to nursing homes, and favorite games like Bingo can still be played virtually.
Actor Matthew McConaughey posted a video calling numbers for a group of seniors in quarantine in a living facility.
Duddridge FaceTimed with her own grandmother Hilda, who is 95, to check-in. Hilda and her husband Lew, 102, celebrated their 75th anniversary last week, waving through the window while he’s quarantined inside a nursing home.
“Grandpa was born in 1918 right in the middle of the flu epidemic. I was born during the stock market crash. Then came the war. Lived through that. Got married, that’s another battle. As long as you have food to eat and a roof over your head…we’ll survive,” Hilda said.
A reminder from our most experienced, wisest loved ones.
Coronavirus is connecting us in new ways. The human spirit is resilient.