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San Diego Oasis engages older adults during COVID-19 isolation


Last updated 4/2/2020 at 1:43pm

SAN DIEGO – California Gov. Gavin Newsom recommended all Californians age 65 and up to self-isolate in their own homes to help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 community spread. Likewise, San Diego County made similar recommendations.

“Social distancing” is the term being used, and it goes against what experts have suggested for seniors for decades. According to the AARP, more than 8 million adults are affected by isolation, and the physical health risks are detrimental. With COVID-19, residents can only expect isolation to increase.

“Today’s older adults are more vibrant and busier than seniors of yesteryear. But social isolation is an epidemic among seniors already, with some studies indicating social isolation is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” Simona Valanciute, CEO of San Diego Oasis, said. “The asking of seniors to self-isolate, while important to their physical health and protect themselves from COVID-19, will exacerbate anxiety, loneliness, and other health problems they may already be experiencing.”

As an effort to continue engaging San Diego seniors, San Diego Oasis is halting its in-person programs and taking some of its classes online. Classes will be delivered via Zoom video conferencing and led by their expert instructors, some who are older adults themselves.

Some of the classes are offered as series and allow students to continue with their studies and participation while not physically being together. Class topics span a variety of topics and include language studies, book clubs, religion and spiritual studies, a grief support group, an Android 101 class and a retirement workshop.

All classes offered by San Diego Oasis range from free to low-cost and are available to adults age 50 and over. Class fees cover costs and support the mission of San Diego Oasis.

Participants are encouraged to register through For more information, call (619) 881-6262.

“Today’s seniors are some of the most active persons in our society,” Valanciute said. “But now they are forced to take the time to slow down. It’s a great time to take a step back from the commitments and focus on yourself and make deep connections with others.”

Here are some tips for remaining engaged as an older adult during a time of self-quarantine and self-isolation:

If you are a tech-savvy senior, go online and don’t stop learning.

If you are active in fitness classes, find a new fitness class on-demand through a streaming service or online.

Pick up the phone and call someone. Check in on them.

Send an email to loved ones.

Check on your neighbor, while maintaining a safe social distance of course.

Connect by text, Skype, Facetime, videoconferencing

Keep a journal

Start the memoir you’ve always wanted to do

Take a genealogy class – combines learning with online research

If you volunteer for a nonprofit, ask them what you can do from home to continue to help the community.

· To register for upcoming classes or to make a donation, visit

Submitted by San Diego Oasis.


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