by Michelle Porjes
Recently, a colleague of mine reached out to tell me about an elderly relative and the loneliness this relative was experiencing. “What activities are available?” she asked.
It seemed like a good question so I made a post on Facebook in LA Elderly:
What in-person activities are available to our elderly?
Then a notification--someone posted about a virtual reality company. OK, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for but I was thankful that some information was posted.
Another notification--”following”. Clearly in-person activities were on other people's minds.
The other notifications were informative but not about in-person activities.
I’ve been running the Facebook group LA Elderly for over 3 years now and I know how quickly posts disappear on a newsfeed so I posted again the next day. And, this time I was more creative ,I added a gif of the Golden Girls. My quick post had morphed into data collection activity...
I am thankful to all of those who took the time to reflect and share their thoughts. I really am. I learned people are creative about activities and picnics are all the rage. I learned that there are those who volunteer to entertain those in residential living. And, sadly I learned that there are really no in-person activities for elderly who do not live in residential housing.
Don’t get me wrong, being safe always comes first and the isolation of the elderly and stress on their family caregivers is heavy.
We have guidelines about masks, social distancing and being outside. The weather is now warm. We have elderly and non-elderly that are considered fully vaccinated. We have low case rates and are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel getting brighter.
Isn’t it time to bring back activities for the elderly and the family caregivers? It doesn’t have to be a long, complicated activity either.
An instrumental concert?
A book reading?
A magic show?
An outside movie night?
We have now brought back activities for children and they aren’t vaccinated. Many of us have started to socialize again. Seems like it’s time to take the next step and bring back the activities.
There has to be some provider, organization, religious institution that is willing to step up and lead the way for others in terms of programming for the elderly.
Everyone is watching and waiting.
So who is going to be brave and take the first bold steps?
In-person activities are going to make a difference in many people’s lives.