To enrich senior citizens’ lives and support them during these uncertain times, Nicole Matson, Community Coordinator for Home Helpers Home Care of Enfield, is now organizing virtual support groups, meetings and activities for seniors and caregivers, online.
Nicole is a trained Support Group leader and Recreational Therapist. She already organized and moderated these support groups and other activities previously, in different locations in Enfield, Somers and Ellington. Besides moving her existing groups online, Nicole is also starting additional Senior Support Groups as we realize there is such a need right now for our seniors.
Seniors are still the most vulnerable group to Covid-19. That’s why many people in this age range continue to self-quarantine and social distance even though we are now in Phase 2 of openings in Connecticut. Most Senior Centers are still uncertain of when they will re-open with such a risk to the population of people who attend.
Zoom for Seniors
Nicole facilitates a Dementia Caregiver Support group through Suffield Community Aide and Suffield Senior Center. This support group is for Dementia Caregivers and is now being held virtually by Zoom every Last Tuesday of the month at 11:00 a.m. She also assists in facilitating the Memory Care Café with Suffield Community Aide the 2nd Wednesday of every month and is working on starting that group on Zoom as well.
Nicole is also continuing to facilitate her Senior Support Group through the Somers Senior Center virtually by Zoom every First Monday of the Month at 1:00 p.m. The Senior Support Group is not a Dementia Caregiver Support Group but is for any Senior. The group is facilitated by Nicole and she shares Home Care Tips and Health Tips, there is a discussion by all, and she ends with Trivia to keep the brain alert & active.
Nicole is also going to be starting another Senior Support Group at the Vernon Senior Center every Last Thursday of the month at 2:00 p.m. These support groups will be virtual with Zoom and if you are interested please feel free to contact us online or call Nicole directly at 860-810-6123.
Nicole has also started doing a Virtual Zoom bingo at the Enfield Senior Center with prizes. The Virtual Bingo is amazingly easy to join in on. Simply email Nicole with your address and she will mail you a Bingo Card and send you a Zoom invite. The seniors who played Zoom Bingo from Enfield Senior Center enjoyed it last month, they could even hear the balls rolling in the background as Nicole picked out numbers just like at the Senior Center. Many laughter was shared by all with some real competitors and hecklers. Nicole mailed the winners their prizes.
What are Zoom meetings?
Many seniors are starting to discover Zoom meetings and realizing this may be the safest way to connect with people during these times of uncertainty. Zoom meetings are virtual video meetings on the computer. Zoom meetings are surprisingly easy to connect to and enjoy socialization. The person who is hosting the Zoom meeting just needs your email address. The meeting host then sends you an email with an invite to the zoom meeting, you accept and when it is time for the meeting you just click on the link you were sent via email and the host will connect you into the meeting. You can click on Video to connect to the meeting and everyone can see you or you can choose not to and still communicate with Audio. Some people may have difficulty with their Video if they do not have a camera on their computer, but even then it is still possible to hear everyone and communicate.
Socialization, Communication and Activities are so important in enriching our lives. The CDC has published on their site that 15-20 percent of adults older than the age of 65 are experiencing depression right now due to self-isolation from Covid-19. They are simply not out socializing, communicating with each other, and doing the activities they were doing in their daily routines. Communication has always been an important part of our lives, at its simplest it is the act of transferring information from one place to another. In fact, so keen are we to communicate with each other, even beyond geographical limitations, that we’ve developed a plethora of tools over the years to help us achieve that, including pen and paper, telegraph, walkie-talkies, telephone, the Internet, Face Time, and now we have Zoom meetings with Audio and Video display of each other.
Nicole is also a Volunteer and Community Educator for the Alzheimer’s Association. The Alzheimer’s Association is also offering Virtual Education and Support for Dementia Caregivers online. The Alzheimer’s Association realizes that during these unprecedented times no one should face Alzheimer’s or Dementia alone and have developed resources to help with support. There are three ways to find support: 1. Online Support Community – alzconnected.org. 2. Online education training – training.alz.org 3. Free 24/7 Help line 1-800-372-3900 or go to ALZ.ORG.