10 lockdown tips for the over 70s
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Being separated from friends and family during the lockdown is one of the most difficult things many of us have had to face, and for elderly people whose lives often revolve around weekly social groups, church services, exercise classes or a trip to the shops, spending hours on end at home alone can feel like even more of a challenge.
And while experts tell us that keeping fit and active is key to good physical and mental health, for those with mobility problems or who rely on others to get out and about, this advice can be pretty hard to follow.
However, from online seated exercise sessions, to this paper’s own penpal scheme, there are plenty of ways to stay active and connected and look after your physical and mental wellbeing, no matter what your age.
Here are our over 70s’ top 10 tips for staying happy and healthy during the lockdown.
Stick to your regular routine
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Do what you normally do as far as you can and improvise where you can’t. For instance, you many not be able to go to church, but many places of worship are broadcasting service online. Visit the website of your local church to find out more.
Write your life story.
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You don’t have to be a budding Edna O’Brian or an aspiring Ernest Hemingway - your family won’t mind a few grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. They will be fascinated to read about what life was like for you growing up and beyond, and putting this down on paper could bring you closer to those you love. For tips on gathering materials, structuring your story and turning your memories into a real page-turner, visit www.booktrust.org.uk
Get out in the garden.
Doing a bit of planting, weeding and digging can help take your mind off your worries and if you don’t have access to a garden, start a windowsill herb garden or create a planter for outside your front door with seeds and plants ordered online. For tips and ideas, visit the Royal Horticultural Society website at www.rhs.org.uk
Dig out those old photos.
Research your family history. The Norfolk Record Office has a wealth of information to get you started, including advice on tracing your family tree, searching electoral registers and cemetery records, and finding out what your ancestors did during the First World War. www.archives.norfolk.gov.uk
Teach yourself to crochet, make a family photo collage from all those loose pictures that weren’t good enough for the album, learn origami or make Christmas decorations (it’s sooner than you think!).
Learn something new.
The University of the Third Age (U3A) website has masses of ideas for keeping your brain active during the lockdown and is also asking older people to contribute to a diary chronicling the crisis as part of a living history project. For more information, visit www.u3a.org.uk
Join 1980s ‘Green Goddess’ Diana Moran for over 70s exercise sessions on BBC Breakfast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6.55am and 8.55am. The famous fitness guru, who is now 80, is hosting front room fitness classes using household objects including chairs and stairs for props.
Sing your heart out!
Join TV choirmaster Gareth Malone’s Great British Home Chorus singing project, which aims to bring together amateur and professional performers from all over the country and enable everyone to enjoy the uplifting power of song. For more information, visit www.decca.com/greatbritishhomechorus
Go on a virtual museum tour.
Lots of the world’s museums and galleries have created online tours where you can marvel at priceless paintings and artefacts from the comfort of your armchair. You can even go on a walk-through tour of America’s National Aquarium, or see two-million-year-old stone tools on an online tour of the British Museum.
Make a new friend.
EDP reporter Donna-Louise Bishop has launched a penpal scheme. To find out more, email: Donna-Louise.Bishop@archant.co.uk with the subject header “Here to Help: Not Alone”, your contact details, the type of involvement you would like to have, and the preference of person or group you would like to write to and/or hear from. She will then put you in touch with each other.
And lastly, don’t suffer in silence. If you are struggling to cope during the pandemic there is an army of volunteers waiting to help with everything from making a friendly phone call, to providing support with practical problems like shopping or collecting prescriptions. To find out what is on offer in your area, visit the EDP website for a list of groups and individuals offering support to their communities as part of the EDP Here to Help campaign.
For more tips, support and information, visit the website of older people’s charity Age UK at www.ageuk.org.uk