Adventures in Isolation: Ascending to the New Normal
These days we all face unprecedented changes to our lifestyles. Staying healthy emotionally while maintaining a healthy physical distance is challenging even for a single week, but with no end date, it could seem downright daunting.
Thank you for continuing to take COVID-19 recommendations from Public Health—Seattle & King County seriously, protecting yourself and your community. Of course, doing so takes a toll on relationships. We are encouraged to “check in” with our friends and loved ones regularly, but without the ability to visit, that translates into phone calls. What used to be a coming together of voices, smiles, frowns, nods, and a variety of other body language becomes a distant echo of those good times.
Now, even solo activities that would ordinarily take us where people gather are off-limits: theaters, museums, sightseeing, dining out, and even places of worship! You probably still have access to books, television, and other passive in-home entertainment. But we can only consume so much of that on a given day before feeling uneasy and possibly even more isolated.
Then, there’s modern technology. It has the potential of bringing faraway things and people into our living rooms—from national treasures to treasured grandchildren. Going on a real-time rainforest adventure and witnessing a loved one’s every expression and gesture are wonderful—if we can get the tech to cooperate.
Is the climb up this 21st century Mt. Everest as steep as it seems? In some cases, yes! We might have neither the tools, nor the know-how to make it all work. Even more insurmountable may be our own fear of the journey.
Trying something new is scary. What if it doesn’t work? What if we try and fail? Rather than possibly looking silly, some will opt not to try at all, choosing the cold comfort of the familiar over the excitement and anxiety of the unknown—even if the summit is just a few, if stumbling, steps away!
Being alone in our homes is likely the new normal for the foreseeable future. A lot is being asked of our hearts and minds—most of all, patience—but courage is a close second.
We challenge you to try at least one new digital adventure each week (e.g., a video call or a virtual museum tour). You may be unfamiliar with the technology at first, but with each try, the wings of your confidence will grow!
Here’s to reaching new heights and discovering new smiles!
Contributor Lenny Orlov is a coordinator with Age Friendly Seattle. Contact him directly at Lenny.Orlov@seattle.gov.
Short Tutorials on Newer Technologies
Many online options exist to talk with family and friends and for education and entertainment, including Facebook, Facetime, Instagram, Skype, Twitter, and YouTube. You don’t have to be tech-savvy. The basics are easy and fun. Here are some quick tips:
- Beginner’s Guide to Twitter for Seniors 2020 (Easy Tech Seniors)
- Getting started | How to subscribe to a YouTube channel and why (YouTube)
- Here’s the 411 on Using Instagram (Next Avenue)
- How to Set Up Facebook (Lifewire)
- Skype for Business (Microsoft Skype)
- Using Facetime with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch (Apple)