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With the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, many people are once again finding themselves stranded in their homes. For some, especially those who live in nursing homes or retirement homes, being isolated can become boring and lonely. Fortunately, these days there are plenty of ways to stay in touch with family and friends and keep your body and mind active.
Locally, there is currently a need for penpals aged 55 or over to write with fifth graders in the region. Central Iowa Retired and Senior Volunteer Program hosts a program in which people over the age of 55 write to fifth-graders to help them learn the art of letter writing. The program includes several new fifth grade classes this year, so there is a great need for more pen pals.
If you are 55 or older and ready to write a letter a month to a fifth grader, contact Becky Koppen at 515-832-2525.
The Fort Dodge Public Library is also a great resource for activities. Customers can reserve items and set them aside in the front for pickup. The library has books, magazines, audiobooks, and music CDs to choose from. Plus, he occasionally offers DIY take-out kits for adults and every month they come up with a mug cake mix that can be picked up and enjoyed at home.
Video calls are a great way for families to stay connected. There are many options like Facebook Messenger, Facetime and Zoom and many more that allow free video calls. There are also the so-called “old fashioned” ways to stay in touch such as letters and phone calls.
Staying active can be easy with the number of simple exercise videos on YouTube, and the Fort Dodge Public Library has exercise DVDs that can be viewed. Gentle, rhythmic walks outdoors are also a great way to get some fresh air and sun while staying socially distanced.
For those who love board games, many favorites like Scrabble, Yahtzee and Monopoly and many more can be played remotely with a friend or family member online or through an app on a phone or a tablet.
Free time is a good time to learn something new. There are plenty of podcasts that you can listen to for free on any topic you can imagine. From real crime to movie reviews to funny stories, there is a podcast for everyone. There are also many free or inexpensive programs online for learning a new language, arts and crafts, makeup tutorials, technology, photography, and hundreds of other topics. If there is something that interests you, search the web for courses or videos on the topic or see if the local library has resources for it.
Most churches offer a live video feed of their services for those who cannot attend. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving home to attend church, see if your church offers this service.
Speaking of virtual, many museums offer virtual tours. You can explore a museum and enjoy the exhibits almost as if you were there.
Several zoos and animal sanctuaries also offer live videos of their animals. Some even have scheduled feed times that you can set.
Staying at home and away from family and friends isn’t easy, but sometimes it’s necessary to keep everyone safe and healthy. Do your best to keep in touch with your friends and family and try to find something you enjoy doing in your home. Finally, keep in mind that it’s perfectly okay to let someone know if you’re having trouble. Many people of all ages report struggling with isolation since the start of the pandemic. Reach out to your friends and family to stay connected and let them know you care.