Finding fun during COVID-19

By Chris Jones/Active Senior’s Digest

With the COVID-19 pandemic now almost 10 months in, many are turning to technology to stay connected and reaching out to family for help while self-isolating.

One Durham senior, Ingrid Thompson, says she and her husband have managed to social distance with the help of their family, as their son-in-law does their grocery shopping. She adds their pharmacy delivers any medicine they might need.

“I give the car a run every so often… ’cause if you don’t drive your car, your battery dies,” she laughs, adding she has been to the pharmacy herself four times since March.

She says they’ve been keeping busy by attending activities held by OSCC 55+ on Zoom. She notes while it was originally free to attend these programs, some of them now come at a cost.
“But it’s the same price as if we were going to the senior’s centre,” she says.

Thompson says she enjoys the fact she’s able to do the activities from the comfort of her own home, and they are going “fantastically well.”

She also notes a few of the instructors at OSCC 55+ have been hosting outdoor exercise sessions in the parking lots of their various locations.

“That was good. It keeps you active and out of trouble,” she says with a laugh.

She also points out there are a number of seniors on her street, and they all keep in touch to make sure they are still doing well.

“You give somebody a phone call every so often, and say, ‘Hi, how are you doing?’” she explains. “But everybody knows they can count on each other, so that’s really good.”

She also points out the younger people on her street find ways to look out for the older residents.

Thompson also points out she gets her favourite newspaper delivered every day, and she reads it front to back, while her husband does the puzzles.

She also says she is online with her iPad.

“There are a lot of Facebook posts recently because of Remembrance Day, so I’ve been looking at that,” she says. “I just discovered that a gentleman that we knew – he passed away a number of years ago – he’s memorialized on the veteran’s building in Winnipeg.”

She notes there is a mural on the building, and her friend’s portrait is included, which she would not have found out about without being online.

“I follow a bunch of different news outlets online and have a hoot looking at people’s Twitter feeds, but there’s a lot of stuff online,” she adds.

She also says they have their favourite television programs, and they make sure to read as well.

But there is one thing Thompson says she misses.

“I do miss going out,” she says. “But, health and safety is paramount, so that’s the main concern.”

As COVID-19 numbers rise, Thompson expects Durham to follow Toronto’s lead and go into more of a “lockdown.”

She jokes she doesn’t necessarily know what the current definition of fun is, but they have been keeping busy, and have been making sure to keep in touch with their kids and grandkids through FaceTime. They even hosted a family event online.

“I had a Zoom birthday party,” she says. “By the time we finished there were about 50 or 60 people that were on in the call from a whole bunch of different cities and three different continents.”

The party itself was a surprise, she says, as it was arranged by her kids, who took into consideration all of the different time zones.

“It was fun,” she says.

“Because of technology, it’s easy to keep in touch with people,” says Thompson.
She notes there’s a lot of stuff to keep seniors active, but points out she is lucky to be in her situation.

“There’s lots of stuff to do, and if you want to stay in bed, you can do that too,” she jokes.
Another Durham senior, Bill Hraynyk says he has been finding ways to stay occupied at home, and has also found ways to get out of the house.

“Once we kind of settled in, it’s depended on what they were saying we were allowed to do,” he says, noting he’s been going out to get the essentials, and his wife has also left the house despite some initial trepidation.

Entertainment-wise, Hraynyk says they’ve been going out for some drives whenever they feel the need to leave the house.

“At first we didn’t get out of the car, but there’s a lot of nice drives at different parts of the year,” he explains. “There’s nice, beautiful places to go to.”

Later they started to leave the car while social distancing and wearing masks.

“We were up to some places in town, just down around the lake and everything,” he says, adding they’ve been to Campbellford’s Ferris Provincial Park as well.

He says they parked as close as they could, and used the trails to walk to a suspension bridge where they did some photography.

They’ve also been up towards Lakefield and Bancroft, and Purple Woods in Oshawa.

“I like walking the trails and taking pictures,” he says, adding they’ve been to Scugog Island as well.

As far as leaving the house goes, Hraynyk says they still don’t like the idea of going inside businesses.

“I like to support them, and we usually do, but I still don’t like the idea of restaurants – even the patios and stuff like that,” he says.

While he misses a lot of the “usual stuff,” Hraynyk notes they have been getting out for more walks lately.

“Normally in the summer, this year especially, I was going to try and get out golfing earlier on,” he says. “But, I never got around to that.”

He notes his brother has been playing a lot of golf, and has even been playing into November.

Ultimately, he says they’ve been “playing it pretty cautious,” but are doing fine.

“Nobody’s going stir crazy or anything,” he says. “Yeah, it would be nice to get out more, but the thing is, hopefully if they get a handle on this, we’ll be able to do so again.”