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Staying Connected...
Posted on Apr 25th, 2020

On March 21, 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 107 (EO 107), which requires all New Jersey residents to shelter in their residence, except where certain exceptions apply (grocery shopping, seeking medical attention, visiting close family members, outdoor activities while following social distancing practices, and leaving for educational, religious, or political reasons). While Georgia just reduced restrictions, there is still a requirement of social distancing.
 
Isolation (and loneliness) does not have to be part of our "new normal." The following excerpt, from the article "COVID-19: 4 Tips to Help the Elderly Stay Connected," presents a number of good options that we can all use, regardless of age. Please consider employing each of the suggestions to stay connected during this extraordinary time.
 
1. Learn the new technology
FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and lots more. All sorts of online options exist to talk with family and friends. And you don’t have to be tech-savvy. Doing the basics is easy, and for most people, fun. If setting up an account is daunting, ask a neighbor, niece or nephew for help and a quick tutorial.
 
2. Stay active in the community from home
It may sound counterintuitive. How can you remain a part of the community if the goal is to separate from the community? But maybe there’s a remote option. Many organizations — political parties, faith-based groups, nonprofits — rely on volunteers to make phone calls. You can do that clearly community-based activity right at home.
 
3. Go on a news diet
Stay informed, know what’s going on but don’t get locked into endlessly watching “breaking news” on the 24-hour news channels. Typically, not much changes hour to hour. But enduring the repetitious pummeling from TV all day long can bring needless anxiety. My patients have found the following advice helpful: Watch a news update in the morning, then check in again at night. Don’t stay with it all evening — 30 minutes or an hour is plenty.
 
4. Reach out to family and friends
Stay in touch with the people close to you, especially those who are social distancing too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that communities create “buddy systems” to make sure vulnerable and hard-to-reach people stay connected, particularly to news about COVID-19. This can be done through your church, social group or daily neighborhood email blasts. And for those of you who are not elderly – why not make it a point to check in on your older friends and relatives? Such thoughtfulness is always greatly appreciated.
Social distancing does not mean social isolation, and even a potentially deadly virus should not force us to be alone. Now, more than ever, people need to find smart ways to stay connected.