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6 Great Social Distancing Activities For Seniors

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6 Great Social Distancing Activities For Seniors

Life has changed in many ways since the COVID-19 pandemic made its way to the United States. Colorado's governor issued a stay-at-home order to protect residents of Denver, Boulder, Grand Junction and other cities against the virus, leaving many people wondering what they can do to pass the time.

Even as stay-at-home orders expire and people tentatively work their way to a new normal, many people are calling for phased approaches — and social distancing is still a good way to keep yourself and others safer.

These six activities are easy to do on your own, making them ideal for older adults who want to social distance while passing the time productively or enjoyably.

1. Stay Active

You may not be able to attend a fitness class or walk with a group of friends, but that doesn't mean you have to give up exercise. Lifting hand weights, performing chair exercises and even walking around your assisted living apartment are all great ways to strengthen your body and prevent joint pain and stiffness.

To perform chair exercises at home, you'll need a sturdy chair — preferably one with a straight back to help you keep your balance. Wrist and ankle rolls are easy to do, and they may help improve your circulation. Follow these steps to incorporate these exercises into your routine:

  • Sit in the chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Curl your toes and then straighten them. Repeat this movement 10 times.
  • Open and close your fists. Repeat this movement 10 times.
  • Bend your fingers and then straighten them. Repeat this movement 10 times.

Leg raises are good for strengthening your calves and preventing swelling that occurs when blood pools in the feet and lower legs. To perform this exercise, follow these steps:

  • Sit in the chair with your feet flat on the floor. Face forward.
  • Lift your right foot off the ground as far as you can. Slowly put your foot back on the floor. Repeat this movement 10 times.
  • Perform 10 leg raises with the left leg.

2. Pick Up a New Hobby

Now is a great time to try a new hobby, especially if it's a hobby you can do by yourself. If you have a digital or film camera, use it to brush up on your photography skills. Take advantage of the lighting conditions and objects in your assisted living department to compose interesting scenes.

If you have someone to run errands for you, ask them to pick up some crossword or Sudoku books next time they go to the store. Try your hand at crafting with a crochet or knitting project. If none of these ideas appeal to you, consider picking up one of the following hobbies that can be done independently.

  • Drawing
  • Cake decorating
  • Calligraphy
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Baking or cooking
  • Sewing
  • Quilting
  • Creative writing

3. Enjoy Some Fresh Air

As long as you keep your distance from other people, you don't have to stay cooped up inside your apartment while the social-distancing guidelines are in effect. At the Grand Villa assisted living community in Grand Junction, Colorado, you have access to beautifully landscaped grounds. If you're in the mood for exercise, a walk around the property can leave you feeling invigorated. Simply standing outside and breathing in the fresh air can also lift your mood. Just be sure not to stand in a group or get too close to other people.

4. Trace Your Roots

If you're looking for a way to pass the time, creating a family tree is a fun and rewarding independent activity. For best results, start with your immediate family. Fill in as much information as you can about dates of birth, death dates, birth locations, marriages and baptisms. Use research tools to trace your family back in time and learn more about your ancestors. Ancestry.com offers access to government databases, which can be useful for finding military records, Census documents and other information that can help you trace your roots. Ask your living relatives to fill in any blanks.

5. Get Organized

If you've been meaning to organize your apartment, use this time to sort through your belongings, set aside items to sell or donate, and organize the rest of the items so they're easy to access. Many resale shops aren't accepting donations right now, but you can put the items aside to drop off when things return to normal. If you have items to sell, get them ready by washing them, ironing them, polishing them or whatever needs to be done to make them more appealing to potential buyers. Take high-quality photographs to post on eBay, Poshmark, Craigslist or another sales website.

When you're ready to organize what's left, don't buy boxes, bins or other containers until you know exactly what you need. You may buy too many or get the wrong size, making it more difficult to get organized. Try to finish one area of your apartment before you move to another, or you'll end up with several half-finished organizing projects.

6. Try New Cuisines

The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on restaurants. Fortunately, many restaurants have turned to curbside takeout and delivery to stay afloat. If you've been meaning to try a new cuisine, now is the time to do so. Spice things up with Thai, order falafel from a Middle Eastern restaurant or try something from an establishment that serves Mediterranean cuisine.

Social distancing won't last forever, but it's important to follow guidelines while they're in effect. Trying one of these activities can help you stay active and avoid boredom while you're practicing social distancing.