Staying busy

Keep yourself occupied and connected when stuck at home

-Messenger file photo
The Fort Dodge Public Library is also a great resource for activities.

With COVID-19 cases back on the rise, many people are finding themselves stuck at home again. For some, especially those in assisted living or nursing homes, staying isolated can become boring and lonely. Thankfully, in today’s day and age, there are many ways to stay connected to family and friends and to keep bodies and minds active.

Locally, there is currently a need for pen pals aged 55 or older to write with fifth grade students in the area. Central Iowa Retired and Senior Volunteer Program hosts a program in which people over the age of 55 write to fifth graders to help them learn the art of letter writing. The program is including several new classes of fifth graders this year so it is in great need of more pen pals.

If you are 55 years old or older and are willing to write one letter a month to a fifth grade student, contact Becky Koppen at 515-832-2525.

The Fort Dodge Public Library is also a great resource for activities. Patrons are able to reserve items and have them set aside at the front for pickup. The library has books, magazines, audio books, and music CDs for patrons to select from. In addition, it occasionally offers take home craft kits for adults and each month they have a mug cake mix that can be picked up and enjoyed at home.

A great way for families to stay connected is through video calls. There are many options such as Facebook Messenger, Facetime, and Zoom and many more that allow free video calls. There are also the so-called “old fashioned” ways of staying in touch such as letters and phone calls.

Staying active can be easy with the number of simple exercise videos on YouTube and the Fort Dodge Public Library has exercise DVDs that can be checked out. Gentle, paced walks outside are also a great way to get some fresh air and sun while staying socially distanced.

For those who enjoy board games, many favorites, such as Scrabble, Yahtzee, and Monopoly and many more, can be played remotely with a friend or family member online or through an app on a phone or tablet.

Free time is a great time to learn something new. There are many podcasts that are free to listen to on any topic you can imagine. From true crime to movie reviews to funny stories, there’s a podcast for anyone. There are also many free or inexpensive programs online to learn a new language, arts and crafts, makeup tutorials, technology, photography, and hundreds of more topics. If there’s something you’re interested in learning about, search the web for classes or videos on the topic or see if the local library has any resources for it.

Most churches are offering live video feed of their services for those who cannot attend. If you do not feel comfortable leaving home to attend church, see if your church offers this service.

Speaking of virtual, many museums are offering virtual tours. You can explore a museum and enjoy the exhibits practically like you were there.

Several zoos and animal sanctuaries also offer live video of their animals as well. Some even have scheduled feeding times you can tune into.

Staying home and away from family and friends is not easy, but at times it is necessary to keep everyone safe and healthy. Do your best to stay in contact with friends and family and try to find something you enjoy doing in your home. Finally, keep in mind that it’s perfectly OK to let someone know if you’re struggling. Many people of all ages report struggling with isolation since the beginning of the pandemic. Reach out to friends and family to keep yourself feeling connected and to let them know you care.


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