By Max Greenberg
A “Hi-Tech” Solution with a Low-Tech PayoffUploaded: Jul 22, 2016
One of the primary factors in seniors maintaining their health and independence is the isolation factor. As people age, and especially if they age alone due to the passing of a spouse or partner, isolation can become a very real companion. Perhaps you are living in the same neighbor you’ve been in since 1960. Many, most, all of your neighbors have moved on, one way or the other. Your kids have been gone for decades now, and the ones who have not left the area do visit on occasion. Sometimes they might bring your grandkids, but many of them are now in their teens and have a very busy life too. So there is a lot of alone time. You are eating alone most meals. And, while you love(d) to cook, cooking real meal for one person is a lot of work, so you may skip most of those “home cooked meals” and try to simplify your meal prep and cleanup by using the microwave more than you used to.
You may still be driving, but traffic is getting really tricky, and you’ve given up driving at night. There are ride services available through the senior center (Avenidas for example) but not generally on weekends or evenings. (Note: Avenidas has partnered with Lyft, a ride-service, to provide an easy way to use your phone to call for a paid ride. GoGoGrandparent offers something similar, so there are solutions to getting rides for seniors now on the market.) But you are definitely not getting out as often as you used to. Maybe you just don’t have that many places to go to anymore, other than the doctor and CVS. It may be getting kind of lonely, spending so much time by yourself.
Meetups are a way to connect in this increasingly impersonal, online world. Meetups is simply a website (www.meetup.com) that allows anyone to organize a group meeting around virtually any topic, quickly get the word out about it and allows folks to sign up on line to attend or to just follow the various announcements about future meetings and comments from the group related to the subject. And the subjects are endless:
Health and fitness groups
Yoga and mediation groups
Dog owner groups by breed or size
Various topic discussion groups
You get the picture. There is something for everyone, it’s usually free, and if you don’t see the group you want to join listed, you can start your own. And the best part: you get to be with REAL PEOPLE, in the flesh, who share your interest(s) and are very happy to have you join them and to get to know you. There are meetups all over the country, including the entire Bay Area. For example, you might find a meetup for writers (or would be writers) called Shut-up and Write (love the title) which has numerous meetups at various times of the day and week in Mt View, Palo Alto, you name it.
Yes, you will still need to actually get to the meetup, but once there, you are likely to find friendly members of your group who might be able to help you out with a ride.
Meetups. Go online to their website and just click around and see what’s happening today in your area that might peak your interest. The best defense against becoming an isolationist is to get out there and connect, in person, with real people. If you are already participating in various meetups, please use the comments section to let us know what you’ve found out there and how easy it was to get started.
(Avenidas Village provides a great service to combat isolation and promote connection as well. You can learn more about their program at www.avenidas.org.)