Isolation and social distancing during the pandemic has become the norm, and it has been challenging for caregivers to find activities that keep their loved ones engaged and content.
Online offerings are beneficial in that they are accommodating for the homebound; can lessen the effects of social isolation; keep those with memory impairment mentally and physically engaged; and promote connections between caregivers and their loved ones.
There is no “one-size-fits” all in activities, and it’s important to consider the affected individual’s level of cognitive decline, what skills they still have and, ultimately, what he or she enjoys.
Online activities can allow individuals to travel around the world; visit museums and national parks; learn gardening tips; visit aquariums or battleships; and even watch live recordings of African wildlife, surfing in Hawaii or bird sanctuaries. Additionally, craft classes, jewelry making, woodworking and photography lessons are offered online, and many are suited for seniors and those with memory impairments.
At travelandleisure.com, find virtual tours of famous museums, including the Guggenheim in New York and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. Enjoy a breathtaking online visit to the Sistine Chapel at museivaticani.va.
You can also view countless paintings and exhibits through virtual tours of New York’s Museum of Modern Art at moma.org. National park tours are offered through nationalgeographic.org, and live cam recordings of dogs, cat rescues, African wildlife and bird sanctuaries can be found on explore.org.
For those who enjoy the underwater world, webcamtaxi.com offers livestreaming webcams of amazing aquariums around the world. For more unique experiences, also check out Google Earth.
Veterans might find the virtual tour of the USS Midway in San Diego (midway.org/360-virtual-tour) interesting and also enjoy looking inside a real helicopter.
Avid gardeners can learn tips and watch videos at mastergardenersd.org.
Entertainment, like movies and television shows, can be enjoyed on a streaming service, like Netflix, Amazon or Hulu. For singalong fun, try karaoke.com.
For the crafter, everything from baking to making jewelry to sewing and painting are taught on Craftsy.com or Michaels.com. Online card games such as bridge, hearts, solitaire and rummy can be found at cardzmania.com. And for those who like puzzles, a great interactive multiplayer online puzzle website, thejigsawpuzzles.com, offers a variety of themes and subjects.
There are various YouTube videos that show exercise routines for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related disorders, and you can search for one that is accommodating for caregivers.
Additionally, to calm and soothe anxiety or worry, guided meditations, such as "Finding Calm in the Storm," are offered online and through YouTube.
LivingAloneandConnected.com is a Facebook group for those living alone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. This platform offers a place to come together to share questions and ideas, and it provides support and informational resources.