11 Ways to Stay Connected while You are Staying Home

For most of us, the most important thing that we can do to help with coronavirus is to stay at home. Sounds easy, right?

Well, if you’re like me, you’re probably finding that it’s getting a little less easy as the weeks wear on. Even if we are all participating in the most collective experience of our lives right now, it’s hard to feel connected when we’re so physically isolated.

That’s why I’ve been collecting some different things to try out to stay connected while staying at home. It takes some effort and a willingness to try something new, but there’s really no limit to the types of activities that we can do together virtually thanks to today’s technology. 

Some of the ideas that I’ve collected probably aren’t new to you, but I want to pass them on because I know that I need reminders to actually try some of this stuff out. Because this situation is new to all of us, and it takes some effort to adapt to the new normal.

Before launching into all of the innovative online options that are out there, let’s all remember to just pick up the phone, too. It just takes a moment to call or text a friend, and quite often a little chat or check-in is all that we need to remind ourselves that we’re connected.

Use Social Media or Zoom to Catch up With Friends & Family Members

Almost all the social media websites and applications today offer this feature where you can video chat with your friends and family. You can even have a group video chat with more than two people on most of the social media platforms out there.

Through these applications, you can stay connected with the people who matter the most every day, even if you are video calling them just to say hi.

Join local groups that are adjusting to life online

If there are some groups that you’re a member of that usually meet in person, check to see whether they have made the move to meeting online for the time being. 

I’ve been impressed by how many organizations in my area have made the transition, as well as how quickly they’ve done it. Everybody from special interest clubs and support groups to activist organizations and mastermind circles are meeting on tools like Zoom now. 

Most of them are very welcoming to visitors and new members, making this a great time to explore the possibilities from home.

Livestream your workout and meditation sessions 

There’s also no reason to exercise alone unless you want to right now either. 

While plenty of trainers are offering instruction online, it’s also easy to just hop onto a video call with a friend or two for a workout.

In fact, this is a great time to share what you know with others and learn new techniques. You’ll be encouraging each other to keep your self-care up too!

Try out some Zoom dinner dates & coffee breaks

All of us are looking forward to things like breaking bread and having coffee with our loved ones in person again soon. 

Sitting down for a morning cup of coffee with a friend on Zoom is still pretty sweet though and a nice way to start the day. Romantic couples are keeping the flame alive while apart with virtual dinner dates. Foodie friends are having fun by making the same meals together while at home. 

I even have friends who reported that their recent online Easter dinner or Passover meal was surprisingly intimate.

Bookend challenging situations and celebrate wins digitally

One great way to stay connected right now is to bookend difficult situations with members of your support group.

All that this involves is checking in with a friend before facing a hard situation or task and then checking out with them once you’re done. Examples of things you might bookend include a difficult conversation with someone or tackling a task you’ve been procrastinating about. 

Bookending offers you a way to ask for support while allowing others into your life, and you can encourage your friends to bookend items of their own with you, too. 

A similar simpler method of staying connected is to just celebrate the daily wins in your life as you run across them. If you’re feeling a moment of accomplishment or experience an unexpected windfall during the day, shoot a friend a text about it. They’d probably be thrilled to share in your joy.

Throw a Netflix Party and stream a movie or show together

Binge-watching Netflix is one way to pass the time during quarantine, but it can become an unhealthy habit, too. 

But inviting people to an online movie night turns the isolation of it all on its head. Apps like Netflix Party allow you to sync up your online viewing with friends. 

Note that Netflix Party is only available on Chrome using a laptop or desktop computer. 

If you want to skip using an app, you can also just arrange to watch a movie together over the phone or call one another once the movie is over to share what you thought of it.

Explore museums and other cultural experiences together virtually 

As you may have heard, there are also a ton of virtual tours available right now of world famous museums. From the ancient artifacts of Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology to incredible works of art from a range of historical periods at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, you don’t have to leave your house to see some truly amazing collections. 

And you don’t have to do it alone. You can explore these together with someone by using screenshare on tools like Zoom, or you and your friends meet after touring a particular museum on your own. In addition to museums, virtual tours are available of destinations ranging from the San Diego Zoo to Walt Disney World

Craft together using video chat or pictures

If you are connected to more creative types, consider setting up a time where you can all work together on your own projects.

Sharing your creative process with another as you hone your collective crafts is actually pretty easy to do with a little planning and streaming video.

Personally, I’ve had a great time making vision boards in person with my friends in the past. Working on that kind of project remotely would be a little different, but I bet it could be just as rewarding.

Challenge others to a step competition

It’s important to stay physically active during this period, and most of us can still get out for a walk unless we’re under strict quarantine. If you’ve got a fitness tracker or decent mobile device, consider sharing your daily steps with friends and encouraging them to do the same. 

You might challenge each other to get out for a certain number of steps each day, and it doesn’t need to be a lot to be worthwhile. You can also share pictures of things that you see during your walk or simply catch up on the phone with someone while you are out for a stroll.

Enjoy some light fun with a virtual board or game of cards

Finding some kind of game to play together online is another easy and fun way to stay connected. 

With modern gaming consoles, there’s no limit to the gaming experiences that are out there. Personally, I prefer the classic board and card games, and I was surprised just how many have online versions these days that you can play with your friends.

Find your own projects to collaborate together on online

Lastly, staying connected with people doesn’t always need to involve seeing each other or interacting in real-time, as great as that is. 

For example, you can start a Google Doc with friends and collaborate on just about anything. In fact, my tribe and I have a shared doc that we’ve been working on lately where we’re sharing other ways that we can stay together while staying at home.

I hope that you found these ideas for staying connected helpful! 

On my end, I’m looking forward to exploring some new ways to stay connected with members of the Women Living in Community network, including some live broadcasts. I hope that you’ll be able to join me!

So if you’re not already signed up, be sure to subscribe for updates from our network now. That’s the easiest way to know what we’re doing next, as well as when a new post has been published. 

Join the Women Living in Community Network now by signing up below!

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September 23, 2016 – Aging in Community: Exploring Options with OLLI

Our series with OLLI (Osher Life Long Learning Institute)

September 23, 2016: Aging in Community: Exploring Options

Dates: September 23 – November 11, 2016 (8 Week Series, Fridays 9am – 11am)
Location: OLLI (Olli Life Long Learning Institute) at UNC-Asheville
Click Here to Download Course Outline | Register at: OllieAsheville

Marianne Kilkenny will be Session 1 Speaker, September 23 – Starting Where You Are
Assess your personal needs, goals and resources as you age and explore an overview of options.

My class will help kick-start your thoughts to create a plan for your future. How do you envision community as you age? Where are the people you already count on located? What kind of action plan can you create starting in the next three months? Six Months? We will also look at your home now and how it might change as the years go by.

A New Community Tribe: The First NotMom Summit

Months ago I was asked to participate in an event that would be the first of its kind. You never know what to expect in these situations but my participation made sense. This was the first ever conference for women without children. The idea was to bring together women who made the choice to not have children as well as those who did want kids but over time and circumstance find themselves without them.

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The first-ever NotMom Summit took place in Cleveland, Ohio on October 9th and 10th.

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Community or Place: A Look at Our Needs Vs. Our Wants

To build from my last post, which looked at the importance of connection as we age, I wanted to expand more on the key elements of successful “Aging in Place” and how the principles for building a community provide the alternative many are seeking.

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Community vs. Place: Why It Matters

Let’s take a closer look at aging in community and what makes it a different, and in many cases preferred, from aging in place.

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In Spring of 2015 I opened my mailbox to find the newest edition of Communities Magazine. In it was a fantastic article by Margaret Critchlow called “Senior Cohousing in Canada: How Baby Boomers Can Build Social Portfolios for Aging Well.” Since this is right in my own wheelhouse I quickly devoured the article.

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Happy Independence Day

I know we’re all busy with cookouts and fireworks to spend time reading a blog so I just wanted to take some time today to say “Happy 4th of July” for our readers in the United States and wish you all a safe and wonderful holiday.

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Last year, I wrote a little about the merits of having a community potluck to get to know your neighbors. You can read that post here.

Everyone’s been to a potluck party sometime in their lives. You bring a hot dish or a cold salad and add it to the impressive table of handmade food from everyone else attending. You want to try just a little taste of everything but soon your plate is overflowing with potato salad, broccoli casserole and barbecued chicken. These parties can really bring a community together.

What are you doing to celebrate the 4th of July?

Aging in Place or Age in Community? Semantics?

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On this site I often like to make distinctions between certain phrases that I think make a difference in our perception of these concepts. For instance, I really hate the word “Elderly” and I think for good reason. Why does it have to be an adverb? Let’s just stick with “Elder” as a noun or just “older adult”.

In any case, the particular phrasing that I want to talk about today is “Aging in Place” versus “Age in Community.”

When you are done, be sure to check out our 2019 Aging in Community Update as well.

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A New Beginning: A Dream Becomes Reality

My Vision of Community

This is Part 2 of My Journey. In Part 1 of My Journey, I wrote about my recent move to a mini-pocket neighborhood – essentially developing a group of shared homes.  (PS. Sometimes we leave out the most obvious details – as if you can read my mind… I still live in Asheville, NC) I also wrote that it signaled not only an important change in my life but also for Women for Living in Community. To read Part 1, click here.

My Journey: A New Chapter for WLIC (June 5th)

For the past few years I have focused much of my attention on the education and awareness of issues surrounding living in community and aging.  I have worked hard to build and promote Women for Living in Community as a resource to families and individuals (men and women) who are seeking alternatives to aging in community for themselves and their families.

I am now beginning a new chapter, a chapter focused on the building and development of a community model for aging in community.  A community not focused on the physical structure with amenities (like nursing homes and retirement homes) but creating a community designation that can be adaptable to where you live, whether you live in a single family home, mobile home community or a NORC (naturally occurring retirement community), live in shared housing or any combination of newly emerging models like the tiny-house community.

The fundamental problem with the way we view aging today is the focus upon the physical needs which tend to place focus on the physical models of living such as retirement communities. These are designed and built solely for the purpose of aging adults and their healthcare but not built for their welfare. These models fail to place focus on the “living aging” and it is this kind of thinking that scares most of us.  We wish to change that focus and in doing so, change lives and how we “age” in community as an active, living, vibrant part of life.

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Group Visioning About Community

In the next chapter of my life, I hope to make connections and partnerships with people, professionals and groups that want to join me as we develop this new community model designation that focuses on the welfare of individuals,  families and the surrounding area.  This is a model that can be implemented right where people live now, not forcing them to move to some “center”.  There will be much more on this.  This is a dream that because of Women for Living in Community network, supporters, and people like you, can now be realized.  Look out for Bettyz Playz.

What is Community?

Let’s begin with Community

Community is a dynamic whole that emerges when a group of people:

  • participate in common practices
  • depend upon one another
  • make decisions together
  • identify themselves as part of something larger than the sum of their individual relationships
  • commit themselves for the long term to their own well-being, to each other, and to the group

*Adapted from “Creating Community Anywhere” By Carolyn Shaffer and Kristin Anundsen

This website and the primary subject in my book Your Quest for Home is building community. It has occurred to me that I have not yet provided a definition of community here on the blog. I include this adapted definition of community on Page 63 of the guidebook.

Let’s take a few moments to unpack it.

The original quote from Creating Community Anywhere by Shaffer and Anundsen is as follows:

What is Community?
Community is a dynamic whole that emerges when a group of people:
participate in common practices; depend upon one another; make decisions together; identify themselves as part of something larger than the sum of their individual relationships; and commit themselves for the long term to their own, one another’s, and, the group’s well being.

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Communities Magazine: Spring 2015 Community for Baby Boomers

Communities magazineI was pleasantly surprised when I opened my mailbox earlier this month to see the spring issue of Communities Magazine with the title “Communities for Baby Boomers” emblazoned across the cover. Since the 1970s, Communities Magazine has been the go-to publication for intentional communities of all types, and since boomers were the catalyst for the communal living movement of the 60s it is no surprise that we are also the leaders of the new initiative to create communities as we age.

The magazine has a number of great articles that would be of interest to anyone looking to develop community.

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