Using Tech to Stay Connected
If the words “FaceTime,” “Zoom,” or “just do it online” make you break into a cold sweat, we get it. We encourage you to have as much in-person time as you can. But staying connected to the world is so important for your body and mind, why limit yourself? Technology can help keep you in touch and feel socially fulfilled. And we're here to help.
Get up to speed
Whenever you dive into something new, it takes a little time to get comfortable. Here are some great, free tech tutorials to get you started:
- BridgingApps from Easter Seals Greater Houston has videos focused mainly on the basics, like setting an alarm on an iPad and using Facetime
- Senior Planet from AARP has a tech tip video collection with titles like Setting Up Your Apple ID and How to Create a Spotify Playlist in the Mobile App
- TechBoomers has a much broader range of courses, from email basics to online shopping and social media
Just remember to go slow. Pick one thing you want to learn and take the time to get comfortable with it.
We also recommend learning about Internet safety with these great starting points:
Connect by phone
Here are some ways to get social with a simple phone call.
Schedule calls with loved ones
Pick some friends or family members you love talking to and book a time each week to talk. That way, you always have a connection and something to look forward to. You can either do plain old phone calls or video calls.
Call a friendly service
When you find yourself needing a friendly voice and no one’s around, try calling a free service where they have folks standing by just to talk to you. We found a couple of them we like:
- Coffee Talk. Just call 1-877-238-2282. All they ask of you is your first name so they know who they’re talking to.
- AARP Friendly Voice. Call 1-888-281-0145, leave your contact info, and they’ll call you back.
Call a warmline
You’ve probably heard of hotlines that you can call in a crisis. A warmline is a step down from that. They’re typically free and you call when you need emotional support:
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a warmline directory so you can find a line in your area
- Samaritans 24/7 helpline is available either when you just want someone to talk to or if you’re having a crisis. Call or text 988.
The Internet offers all kinds of ways to connect online. Let’s look at a few of them.
Take a class
- GetSetUp has an amazing variety of online classes, including travel, yoga, and cooking. Take 10 live classes and unlimited community-led classes each week at no cost.
- SilverSneakers offers virtual fitness classes and it’s included with your Devoted Health plan. Visit their website, select Check My Eligibility, and create an account.
Sign up as a mentor on eldera
Eldera connects people ages 5 to 18 with mentors ages 60 and up for weekly conversations and activities. Learn about mentoring with eldera.
Have some fun
These ideas won’t necessarily connect you with others, but they’re a way to break out of the same old routines:
- Check in on the animals at the National Zoo
- Sneak a peek at animals all over the world
- Take a virtual tour of the Louvre
- Explore arts and culture from around the globe
You can also dive into podcasts, which are basically radio shows for the Internet. You can listen whenever you want, they’re free, and there are TONS of them. Plus, they’re easy to get started with, especially with these guides:
- WISH-TV’s Beginners Guide to Podcasting
- Good Housekeeping’s A Beginner's Guide to Finding and Listening to Podcasts
There's always music, too. We asked members for songs that made them smile and now we can't stop dancing! Take a listen to our member playlist: