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6 tips for older adults to stay connected during COVID-19

An older woman visiting with friends on her tablet.

Social distancing can be especially hard on older adults, who are already at risk for isolation.

So it's important for you to stay connected with others during this time. Here are six steps you can take to do that:

1. Gather contact information for friends and family. That includes phone numbers, email addresses and physical addresses. Ask about their accounts on social media, too, and follow them.

2. Update your devices if needed. If your computer, phone or tablet is slow or out-of-date, this might be a good time to upgrade so that you can stay in touch easily.

3. Make the most of video chats. Platforms like Skype, FaceTime and Zoom let you see the faces of the people you're talking with. That means you can read a book to a faraway grandchild. Enjoy dinner with a friend. Or host a virtual book club or knitting circle.

4. Get in touch with old friends. Now is a great time to catch up with folks you haven't talked to in a while. Call, email or surprise someone with a letter.

5. Reach out for caregiving support. Are you taking care of a partner or parent? Connect with other caregivers online through virtual support groups. Or if your loved one is in a long-term-care facility and you can't visit, ask the staff to help you video chat with them.

6. Ask for help. If you're struggling with feelings of loneliness, there are resources to turn to. Call the national Disaster Distress Helpline at 800.985.5990.

Reviewed 6/30/2020

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