COVID-19 Community Information Center

Activities from a distance for health and happiness

Even though shelter-in-place orders have long been lifted in Texas, it’s likely you are feeling the effects of social distancing. While we’ve been advised not to gather in large groups, or with people outside of our household, we can still check in and stay connected to family and friends. Here are some ways to carry on a virtual visit beyond a video chat:

Stop by, but say “hi” from a distance – If you have a loved one who lives in an apartment, assisted living facility or nursing home, call them on the phone and chat as you smile and wave to them through a window. If your loved one lives at home, set up a spot to talk on the driveway or porch, while still maintaining a safe distance.

Make people smile with a text – A group text message is a fun way to get a conversation going. Use emoji and memes to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Have a long-distance movie night – Netflix makes it possible to watch your favorite movie or TV show online with a group via Netflix party.

Join a pen pal club – Write and mail a letter to someone who may be isolated to cheer them up, such as these Texas seniors who are taking their pen pal search global. A number of pen pal groups are available online as well to connect you with others around the world.

Stream a religious service – Many communities of faith offer live streaming and pre-recorded videos to help their followers stay connected.

Game with a group – Host a virtual game night with friends using your smart TV or download smartphone apps that allow you to play games like the classic Words With Friends with family and friends.

Be a good neighbor – Check in with people in your area who may be alone or more vulnerable. One way to do this is to write a note and leave it under your neighbor’s door, with your phone number and a list of things you’re willing to help with — from buying groceries and other supplies to picking up necessary prescriptions.

Creativity in times of crisis can serve as a great coping mechanism. It can also do wonders for the spirit. Older adults and those who are most vulnerable may especially be in need of a pick-me-up during social distancing. Learn more about how you can support and engage with a senior or at-risk individual from a distance. 

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