The last 18 months have been a challenging time for everyone as the world continues to manage the ongoing effects and changes of COVID-19. Alongside the concern for the obvious health implications, we’re becoming more and more aware of the social isolation and loneliness that many people are feeling due to the COVID restrictions and lockdowns.
From disrupted routines and cancelled plans, to visitor restrictions and snap lockdowns, it’s easy to see how even the most socially active person could start feeling isolated.
So how can we continue supporting our participants to remain connected, build friendships, and learn new skills during this socially distanced, and somewhat isolated time? Thankfully technology and the internet has made keeping connected a lot easier, but besides social media, how else can we ward of COVID loneliness?
To help you plan your participant’s support we’ve put together 5 ways to help keep your participants connected and engaged through COVID.
Try and maintain their usual routines as much as possible.
Whether it’s a regular doctor appointment, an afternoon walk, or a weekly shopping trip, we’ve been trying to keep our participant’s regular routine’s as stable as possible. In some cases this means that appointments are done via telehealth, and that physical exercise time is spent in the backyard instead of at the park or gym. This is even more important for participants who don’t adjust to change easily, or who may not have the capacity to understand COVID.
Use YouTube and online classes to learn a new skill
The internet is a great place to look for a new hobby or skill, and to find some really supportive online communities. On YouTube alone you will find a plethora of tutorial videos with guides from baking and cooking, to painting and jewellery making. Not only will learning a new skill keep your participant occupied, it will also allow them to tap into an online community and give them space to share their new skill or hobby. Live online classes will also let your participant interact with other students in real-time.
Get out into the backyard as much as possible
No one likes being cooped up inside, and there’s no better way to boost someone’s mood than by heading outside to enjoy the sunshine. If your participant is stuck at home, try encouraging them to spend time outside in their backyard or garden. It’s a great excuse to start work on a veggie and herb garden, or to plant some flowers they can watch grow. You could try and build an obstacle course together, or even work on the eye-hand coordination with some ball games.
Reach out to their neighbours
There’s no better excuse than COVID to check-in with your neighbours and make new friends. Try setting up a community library so everyone along the street can swap books or organise a neighbourhood ‘happy hour’ where everyone comes out on their lawn to watch the sunset together.
Ditch technology and start a pen pal program
If you’re participant has family and friends living in other cities or states, it’s a great chance to encourage them to be pen pals. Aside from letters they can also send hand drawn pictures or artworks, and they can even pick a different relative to write to each week. Make sure to encourage the relatives to write back so that your participant can share the joy in receiving a letter in the mail.
If you are looking for support, contact our friendly team today!
Real Community Services – Big Enough To Meet Your Needs, Small Enough To Care.