Be Socially Engaged While Practicing Social Distancing
Opportunities To Connect Are Within Your Reach
What can I do? How can I help?
Loneliness and isolation are dangerous - but we can connect while social distancing!
Check in on the people in your life who live alone - call them! Regularly!
Utilize social media to stay connected.
Connect with your community to reach out together.
Volunteer through the aging network!
Let Them Hear Your Voice
A simple phone call (or video call) may be a powerful way to combat social isolation.
Creative ways to spend time on the phone (or Skype/Zoom/Google Hangout)
Plan consistent times to “meet” - make calls part of your regular routine.
Read poetry or a book together.
Play trivia or games (i.e. 20 Questions), or tell jokes!
Ask the person to tell you about a favorite memory of their childhood.
If you aren’t a big talker…
Plan to watch a favorite TV show during the call.
Plan to watch (and “play”) a TV game show such as Jeopardy!
Listen and play music.
Watch a movie together.
Do a crossword puzzle together.
Write a letter or send grandchildren’s / children’s art to older family members, friends or neighbors.
What if the person is unable to talk?
If someone in your life is at risk of social isolation and cannot communicate verbally, check with their care provider. Ask them to plan regular contact hours, or for assistance setting up video technology like FaceTime. Work together to plan out how to connect.
Ask specific questions for person’s the well-being: Are they eating meals? How is their mood? What activities are offered daily?
How To Explore The World From Home
Connect by Phone
Call4Calm - Mental Health Support Hotline
The Illinois Department of Human Services' Mental Health Division has launched a free-of-charge, emotional support text line, Call4Calm, for Illinois residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19.
Individuals who would like to speak with a mental health professional can text "TALK" to 5-5-2-0-2-0, or for Spanish, "HABLAR" to the same number: 5-5-2-0-2-0. Call4Calm is free to use, and individuals will remain anonymous.
Once a resident sends a text to the hotline, within 24 hours they will receive a call from a counselor employed by a local community mental health center to provide support. Individuals can also text 5-5-2-0-2-0, with key words such as "unemployment" or "food" or "shelter" and will receive information on how to navigate and access supports and services.
SAGEConnect provides support and links LGBT elders with their broader community, reducing isolation and promoting well-being. Interested individuals can register at the link provided or call the registration line at (929) 484-4160.
Well - Connected Community
Engage now with other older adults across the country through the Well-Connected Community! Programs are available now to adults ages 60 and over.
Well-Connected offers phone and online groups, conversations, and lectures in a wide range of topic areas including: Trivia, Story Time, Bible Study, Concert from the Couch, Armchair Travel, Politically Speaking, Pet Tales, Sports Time, and more!
Join others for regularly scheduled one-on-one friendly phone conversations, or just listen! Participate and/or volunteer!
Click the catalog link below to see the full listing of topic areas and specific conversation titles. Then, call in to register or use the online form.
Have fun and Get Connected!
Call (877) 797-7299 (English)
(877) 400-5867 (Spanish)
* At this time, employees who run this service are working remotely; please leave a message with your name and phone number telling them that you are interested, and they will call you back!
Letters Against Isolation
During social distancing, it is easy for seniors to feel isolated and lonely. Sisters; Shreya and Saffron recognized this and started Letters Against Isolation. They and their volunteers work together to write handwritten letters to seniors across the country. The personal nature of a handwritten letter and the messages of positivity inside them help older Illinoisans feel more connected to their communities. A small task for individuals of any age could go a long way to brighten an older Illinoisan’s day. To become a letter writer, please fill out the yellow 'Get Involved' form on their website,https://www.lettersagainstisolation.com/.
Virtual Encounters with Nature
America's National Parks
Many National Parks are closed, but you can visit five of them through Google Arts & Culture.
See this prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, through a variety of lenses on this Skyscape site created by English Heritage. An interactive map provides an aerial view of the grounds, allowing you to learn the histories of different locations from above. You'll also find lots of written information about this unique landmark.
Virtual Tours of Museums
Around the world
Even though you may be stuck at home, visit these sites below and go on virtual trips to iconic places to pass the time and experience something new!
These aren't really virtual vacations, but they're a taste of what you'd experience on a trip with Road Scholar, the nonprofit educational tour company for travelers 50 and older. These free live online “virtual learning” sessions focus on different sites around the globe. The lecturers, the same experts that travelers might hear on a Road Scholar trip to France or the American Southwest, for instance, take questions in a Q&A session following their talks (which are available to stream after the live event, too).
Taj Mahal, India
These breathtaking views from the grounds of the iconic mausoleum have only been witnessed by the birds who flew over it - until now. Visit AirPano and read details about the photographers’ long quest for access to this Wonder of the World. You can also view videos of gorgeous spots like the Matterhorn in Switzerland and a flight above Tokyo at night.
*Visit Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs for more virtual tours.
Older Illinoisans already struggle with loneliness, isolation, and lack regular companionship. Now, imagine them being flooded with messages that “elders with underlying medical conditions are most at risk of death from transmission of COVID-19.” These messages coupled with social distancing is further isolating older adults.
Governor JB Pritzker introduced All In Illinois to unite residents across the state to continue to stay home and stay safe. Now more than ever, we all need to do our part to support our communities. We can slow the spread if we do it together. Our strongest weapon against COVID-19 is you.
Join us and take the pledge to being 'All In' - for our older Illinoisans and neighbors, our health care professionals and first responders, our grocery store workers and so many more. Thank you for committing to being All in Illinois by staying safe and staying home. Together, we are #AllinIllinois
Every day we do things that keep us safe, like buckling a seat belt or putting on a bike helmet. But if we forget, or don't do them (even once), we put ourselves and others at risk. A mask is no different. It only works if you wear it. So always wear a mask when you're out in public to protect yourself and others. We're all safer and stronger when we go all in, Illinois.
Need help with your mobile device?
Not sure how to use your mobile device (tablet, smartphone or laptop) to connect to online programs? Check out these fact sheets on how to use mobile devices for social connection:
Apple Mobile Device