Now that vaccines are being rolled out in the fight against COVID-19, we’re finally seeing a reason for optimism. In the meantime, while we’re still in the tunnel, it’s important to recognize that there is a flip side to living in a pandemic. Here’s a look at six unexpected silver linings.
Even if you previously cringed at the thought of using technology to keep in touch with loved ones, chances are good, that now, in 2021, you’ve become enamored by Zoom and FaceTime. Although face-to-face meetings are still the gold standard, a video chat allows for more intimacy than a traditional phone call. Seeing your loved ones’ expressions as they talk (and vice-versa), makes it’s much easier to connect!
Don’t get complacent about your video chatting skills when the pandemic ends, though. Even when the risk of contracting the SARS-CoV 2 becomes low, in-person visits may not be convenient when the weather is bad or schedules get crowded. Plus, now that video chatting is ubiquitous, why not set up a virtual meeting with a long-forgotten relative or friend? Another bonus: you can use video chatting to zoom in on courses, workshops, meetings, music lessons, and exercise groups from around the globe.
Along with impelling people to become comfortable with Zoom, the pandemic has accelerated the use of telehealth. Now, instead of traveling to medical appointments (and sitting in a crowded waiting room full of sick people), you can usually meet with healthcare providers from the comfort of home. Telemedicine can be used for most visits, including regular check-ins as well as visits with specialists, which are often hard to book in-person.
The pandemic has galvanized all organizations—especially those dealing with a healthcare or senior care–to enhance infection prevention. Rest assured that Sunshine Retirement Living communities will continue their rigorous regime of disinfecting and cleaning surfaces, using products geared to the coronavirus as well as the norovirus and the influenza virus. Staff also have an array of infection control tools (like social distancing, mask wearing and limiting group size) they can pull out during flu season, so that there’s no break in the slate of recreational and social activities.
From curbside shopping to robotic food delivery, the social restrictions caused by the pandemic have encouraged creative solutions so that people can carry on with activities such as shopping and dining in a modified way. When it comes to socializing, Sunshine’s, staff have had to dig into their ingenuity so that residents could keep active and engaged. They’ve revised blackjack games, conducted socially distanced exercise classes, set up family window visits, and created new holiday traditions, such as Grandparents Day parades.
For many, the pandemic has slowed down time, giving people more time to reflect on life and to attend more to self-care, like praying and meditating, taking long baths, going on walks, and doing yoga. This freeing up of time has allowed some people to finally participate in meaningful creative projects, such as playing an instrument, writing their life history, or creating exquisite watercolors.
One final silver lining: The social restrictions imposed by the pandemic have highlighted the significance of spending time with people you love and the importance of being connected to others. In some cases, after spending months alone in their homes, seniors have rightly concluded that living with others is vital to their emotional health. Luckily, moving to a senior living community is an easy antidote to social isolation.
Katherine O’Brien is a Toronto-based health writer who specializes in writing about healthy aging and dementia. She understands firsthand the experience of being a dementia caregiver. Have a question or story idea for Katherine? Email us here.