The Clinton Seniors’ Daffodil Tea in March was a great success, bringing needed cheer. (Photo credit: Stock image)

Rockin’ and Talkin’ with the Clinton Seniors’ Association

Ways to combat loneliness, stay acticve, and keep connected

By Zee Chevalier

“A gush of bird-song,

A patter of dew,

A cloud, and a rainbow’s warning.

Suddenly sunshine and

Perfect blue —

An April day in the morning.”

Harriet Prescott Spofford

Thank you to all who came out to the Clinton Memorial Hall to the seniors’ Daffodil Tea on March 11. It was a successful fundraiser, and the Clinton Seniors’ Association appreciates the support from the community.

Thanks also to Jessica Lawrence of Bubbles’ Blossom Design, who provided the daffodils for the tea. She wrapped every pot of miniatures with yellow mesh and beautiful, colourful ribbons. The presentation was outstanding.

Henk Hanemeyer won the Cookie Guessing Game, guessing the number of peanut butter cookies exactly: 27. Well done! Alice Crosson’s name was drawn for the door prize of lovely colourful primulas. Just minutes before, Alice said “If you pull my name out, give the pot of flowers to Joyce Witt. I’m allergic to them.” What are the chances? A guest at the tea drew out Alice’s name and Joyce won the flowers!

There will not be a general meeting of the Clinton Seniors’ Association in April. All meetings and events are cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Clinton was virtually locked down for most of March, and it’s my guess that residents will be in self-isolation for many more weeks. We can only pray that Clinton and district is spared an extreme epidemic such as other parts of the world are experiencing.

Continuing my focus on mental health, it seems appropriate to talk about loneliness. Loneliness isn’t the same thing as being alone. Some people feel satisfied with relatively little socialization, while others feel lonely in a crowd.

Loneliness and social isolation can make you sick, but friends can help keep you well. Numerous studies have shown that a network of strong, meaningful relationships is tied to higher levels of well-being, health, and longevity. Research has linked loneliness to a number of mental and physical health issues like depression, anxiety, and several other serious conditions.

People will, in general, fall into one or the other category: total dependence on interaction with others, or loving peace, quiet, and solitude.

All the good advice for combating loneliness cannot be acted on at this time, because it involves reaching out to other people to develop friendships through organizations, volunteering, etc. So let’s assume that, as a senior, you have cultivated close friendships over the years and have raised a family which now includes grandchildren and great-grandchildren. You now find yourself forced into self-isolation and social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic. How are you doing? What are you doing to manage the situation?

We’re living in an age of technology and electronic gadgetry. If you know how to use technology, there are a variety of activities you can engage in. There are movies, music, card games, casino games, word games, jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, and more. If a computer or cellphone is not part of your life, real games can be a good pastime, such as solitaire, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, other puzzles that require you to think, jigsaw puzzles, etc.

Connect with others. Perhaps the best thing you can do to combat loneliness during this period of isolation is to connect with others in non-traditional ways. While you may not be able to visit with family and friends in person, that does not mean you cannot connect. Do so by telephone. Don’t hesitate to ask family members to “please call regularly”. If you have been doing a regular volunteer job, why not ask if there’s a way to help out over the phone or via some other means?

If you have been going to the gym or working out regularly, and that is currently not an option, there are video workouts you can do from the TV. If you’re not sure how to set it up, ask a good friend or family member to help you. You can still go out for a walk; just avoid other people. You can work in your garden.

To boost your mental health, find healthy distractions like reading, watching shows, movies, and documentaries, listening to music, or playing an instrument. It’s a great time to pick up a hobby that you had set aside a while ago, like stamp collecting, needlework projects like counted cross-stitch, or craft projects like sewing, knitting, or crochet. Perhaps your photo albums need updating. Maybe you could write your memoirs or short stories or that book you’ve always dreamed of writing. This might be the right time to clean out drawers that have been neglected, or the linen closet.

Self-isolation may bring anxiety, particularly if you are sharing the space with others. Seniors shouldn’t be afraid to tell their doctors that they are stressed out. There are a lot of mental health resources available by phone that doctors can provide.

To be continued

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