News Flash

Health - Public Health News

Posted on: August 20, 2020

Staying Connected When We Have to Stay Apart

Because older adults have a higher risk of more serious illness from COVID-19, it’s especially important for them to stay home and limit close physical contact with people outside their household. But that doesn’t mean cutting off all contact with others. Staying connected may take some creative thinking in our new COVID-19 world but it’s worth the effort. 

People who feel closely connected to others have both physical and emotional benefits.

  • Lower levels of anxiety and depression
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Quicker recovery from illness
  • More empathy for others
  • More open to trusting and cooperating with others

Planning for connection

How can older adults keep close ties to community and loved ones and still follow the basic rules about socializing that we know prevent COVID-19 infection? Start by thinking about the types of interactions that bring joy. Before COVID-19, this may have included:

  • Volunteering with a local organization. 
  • Going to a fitness class, playing sports, or being part of a social club. 
  • Attending worship services.
  • Getting together with friends and family informally. 

The next step is to make a plan to increase those connections that improve your wellbeing and to limit ones that make you feel worse. Most likely, you’ll need to be creative in modifying your favorite activities to fit the constraints of our COVID-19 world. 

Tried and true ways to connect:

  • Catch up with a family member or friend regularly by phone. Choose a book to read and discuss. Trade recipe ideas. Check in about a shared love of anything from Beethoven to baseball to beetles.
  • Write a note or postcard. Even a simple note lets someone know that you’re thinking of them and is bound to brighten their day. 

Express yourself creatively

  • Share a poem, drawing, or other creative project. Creating art can reduce stress and help focus on the good in life. Receiving a handmade card or piece of art is often treasured.
  • Learn a new skill or brush up on an old one. Share what you’ve learned with a friend and ask them to do the same.

Move your body to lift your spirits

  • Get out for a walk, chat with a neighbor, or just enjoy some fresh air. Just remember to keep a six foot distance and wear a face covering if you can’t maintain distance.
  • The YMCA is currently offering free fitness classes at
  • Check out the Whatcom Council on Aging’s virtual programming. They offer a wide range of activities from strength training to a Spanish conversation class, a social hour, and TED talk discussions.

Use technology to stay connected

  • Need help to get started with online tools? The Bellingham Public Library has free resources to help you learn technology skills. Senior Planet offers free online basic tech classes for people ages 60 and older.
  • Attend local worship services online or join faraway friends or family for their online services.
  • Make a date with a friend or family member to listen to a concert online, watch a dance performance, or see a museum exhibit. 

Helping others from your home

  • Many older adults have a lifetime habit of volunteering that stopped abruptly because of the pandemic. Safe and meaningful opportunities still exist. Contact The Volunteer Center of Whatcom County to find a wide range of volunteer options from online tutoring  to helping distribute food to assisting in grant management.

Feeling close to others and a sense of belonging is good for all of us, no matter how old you are. Reach out to others, take care of yourself, and ask for help. We’re in this together.

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Health - Public Health News

Update on the Delta variant

Posted on: July 26, 2021

Tips for Staying Safe on Open Water

Posted on: July 16, 2021

Vaccine Update for 7/7/21

Posted on: July 7, 2021

Top Tips for a Healthy 4th

Posted on: July 2, 2021

I’m fully vaccinated: What now?

Posted on: March 29, 2021

Variant B.1.1.7 Found in Whatcom County

Posted on: February 24, 2021

Whatcom County Vaccine Update 1/18/21

Posted on: January 18, 2021

Whatcom County Vaccine Update 1/14/2021

Posted on: January 14, 2021

Whatcom County COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Posted on: January 7, 2021

Situational Update on COVID-19 Data

Posted on: December 16, 2020

WCHD COVID-19 Vaccine Update 12/15/20

Posted on: December 15, 2020


Posted on: October 23, 2020

Emergency Preparedness

Posted on: September 22, 2020

Small actions add up

Posted on: September 10, 2020

COVID-19 and Chronic Stress

Posted on: September 3, 2020

How to Have a Safe Learning Pod

Posted on: August 25, 2020

The Importance of Contact Tracing

Posted on: August 19, 2020

Choosing the right mask

Posted on: August 13, 2020

Phase 2 Refresher

Posted on: August 12, 2020

Find your party of 5

Posted on: August 4, 2020

Updated Guidance for Phase 2

Posted on: July 25, 2020

Share Compassion, Not COVID

Posted on: July 18, 2020

Responding to COVID-19 Outbreaks

Posted on: June 9, 2020

Is it safe to gather with friends?

Posted on: May 23, 2020

Got Symptoms? Get Tested!

Posted on: April 30, 2020