Sara Hinson

Sara Hinson

How to Avoid Social Isolation While Social Distancing

How to Avoid Social Isolation While Social Distancing 

We all enjoy get-togethers with friends and family, meetings at church or school, and everyday encounters on the street or at the grocery store. It’s natural, and social interaction is an important component of good health. Humans rely on one another, and as such, depend on interpersonal contact to boost brain health. Social isolation, however, can lead to depression and is believed to be a contributing factor to age-related cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. 

With social distancing recommendations in effect to slow the spread of COVID-19, avoiding isolation and loneliness is a bit more challenging. Many non-essential businesses are closed, events are canceled, and people are encouraged to stay at home for all but the most crucial needs. At Cumberland Village, family visitation has even been restricted based on recommendations from local health officials.

The good news is that it’s possible to maintain a social life while keeping your distance. Interacting with family or friends—even virtually—should be a daily part of your routine. Setting aside 15 minutes a day to email loved ones, chat over the telephone, or sit down to write a letter can keep you connected without risking exposure to contagion. Here are additional ways to stay in touch while abiding by social distancing recommendations.

Ways to Avoid Feelings of Social Isolation

Senior couple video calling on laptop waving at screen, sitting at kitchen, panorama
  • Chat virtually. Services like Zoom, FaceTime, or Facebook Video Calls allow you to see your friends and family in real time. It’s the next best thing to being there. Scheduling video calls for the same time each week establishes a routine that can curb feelings of isolation. 
  • Wave to your neighbors. Saying “hello” to your neighbors—even at a distance—is a good reminder that everyone is in this together, and that our community will remain strong.
  • Volunteer. While in-person volunteering is restricted, there are still plenty of volunteer opportunities online. Consider starting a fundraiser via social media, or check sites like Volunteer Match for ways to give back, such as responding to emails or answering calls. If you know your way around a needle and thread, you can even sew fabric face masks to donate to first responders.
  • Learn a new skill. If you’ve ever wanted to try something new, now is the time. There are hundreds of online tutorials, ranging from quilt making to dancing to photo editing. While you won’t have the benefits of an in-person workshop or class, joining a like-minded virtual community can help eliminate feelings of social isolation while still giving you the support you need.
  • Take advantage of everything Cumberland Village has to offer. While many social programs are on hold for now, some have been adapted to meet social distancing requirements. You can listen to live music from afar, enjoy “social” hours from the safety of your own room, or take in the sunny spring weather on a leisurely stroll through the grounds.

Social Distancing Doesn’t Have to Mean Social Isolation

Cumberland Village is a strong community whose residents can weather the COVID-19 pandemic together. Although we’re required to maintain social distance, we can still adapt new ways of remaining connected to one another.