We know stressful or traumatic events can trigger anxiety among seniors. Even before COVID-19 upended daily routines and in-person activities, research showed strong connections between social network structure and symptoms of anxiety and depression in older adults. That’s why factoring mindset into a senior’s care plan is so important right now.
How can you help loved ones feel engaged or even distracted? We’ve uncovered a wealth of mini escapes that might be just what your loved one needs:
Nothing says spring like cherry blossoms
Got a nature lover on your hands? Google Earth enables anyone to travel the world’s most beautiful, blossom-lined streets right from home. If you prefer, why not help someone jump into a short, narrated tour of the famed Kew gardens outside of London? From there, you’re a hop, skip and a click away from a visit to Claude Monet’s waterlilies direct from Giverny, France, or Hawaii’s Tropical Botanical Garden. Seniors can even chart their own virtual path through The Gardens of Versailles.
Animals do the darndest things
Closer to home, Montréal’s Biodome may be closed, but a number of other Canadian zoos and aquariums are offering up live feeds from some of their favourite exhibits. You can zero in on the Calgary Zoo’s PandaCam to watch Er Shun and Da Mao during daytime hours, explore Sea Lion Beach on British Columbia’s Hanson Island, or pop into the penguin exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium. Live views of the Shark Cam at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada are another great way for seniors to safely interact with stimulating content.
A painting speaks a thousand words
Studies show aesthetic experiences have a noticeable impact on physical and mental health. Art aficionados can reap that benefit and get a colour-filled dose of some powerful displays all from the safety of their living room. Why not boost morale by taking a peak inside the Vancouver Art Gallery, or stepping right into the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto? Make a daily habit of checking into the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts daily culture offering, too. Further afield, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Boston’sMuseum of Fine Arts, and Paris’ Louvre are all welcoming visitors remotely. If someone’s looking for an unparalleled hit of optimistic colour, the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe has six virtual tours for at-home visitors to revel in.
Stories inspire storytelling
History buffs may want to step back in time through Pointe-à-Callière’s virtual tour of their permanent exhibits, explore the Canadian Museum for Human Rights with an on-screen guide, or scroll through dozens of other offerings many Canadian museums are serving up. And if someone’s missing the good old hockey game – not a problem. Encourage them to get their fix remotely, with a little help from the Hockey Hall of Fame’s 3-D tour. Or cheer on some historic expos as TSN begins airing classic games.
Doom and gloom breeds doom and gloom. Offering a little respite for high-risk seniors who are self-isolating at home is essential. Watching virtually with them by phone or from the right distance can be a nice way to dial down your own stress level in the process. Even in such extraordinary times, a little happy can go a very long way.