“We Met Via Zoom” – How Seniors Found New Ways to Connect During the Pandemic, and How You Can, Too!

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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, people of all ages and circumstances were forced to adapt to social distancing and quarantine laws. With regular lockdowns becoming the new normal, everything from business meetings and healthcare services to social gatherings and support groups had to be conducted virtually. People got creative, and many learned to adapt.

At Fountaingate Gardens, Long Island’s newest Life Plan Community, our Founders were no exception. In order to stay connected with their future neighbors, the Founders Club decided to combat social isolation and grow their community by starting their own weekly Zoom meetings.

Beginning in April of 2020, Thursday Zoom meetings became a fun new routine for Fountaingate Gardens Founders. Though there was certainly a learning curve for the new technology, before long they were enjoying both social gatherings and more formal educational events. One Founder took the lead, ensuring all could participate by helping to distribute login information, welcoming new members, and relaying any questions and concerns from the group back to the team at Fountaingate Gardens.  Though many weren’t very familiar with this form of online technology prior to the pandemic, they were able to surpass this barrier and develop very real friendships, all from behind a screen.

Even as restrictions begin to loosen on social gatherings, the Fountaingate Gardens Founders have come to truly enjoy their weekly Zoom sessions, and continue to host them every Thursday. When they finally had an opportunity to gather in person recently at the Fountaingate Gardens Information Center for a Founders barbecue, they didn’t have to spend time getting to know new faces:  They were already friends, and while they shared a meal beside the construction of their future homes, their excitement to finally come together with their future neighbors was evident in the laughter and animated conversation.  Although social isolation can be a threat to older adults, the growth of the Fountaingate Gardens Founders community via Zoom proves that the internet is an excellent way to connect with friends, both new and old.

Zoom isn’t going away any time soon, and hosting or attending group meetings has become a breeze thanks to the adoption of this technology by people of all walks of life. This helpful guide by AARP outlines how to easily learn the basics of using Zoom, including joining and hosting meetings, muting, chatting, and screen sharing. Anyone of any age with an internet connection, a digital device, and a webcam can make this new form of communication a part of their lives!  Want to give it a try?  Here are a few ways you can start today:

·         Join your grandchildren on a socially distanced Zoom call. You’ll be able to hear about their day and see the picture they drew for you at school, all at once.

·         If you’re feeling under the weather, ask your doctor about having your regular check-up virtually. You’ll save yourself the trip while ensuring that you’re staying healthy.

·         Grab your friends and start a club around your favorite shared hobby. You’ll never have to cook, knit, or paint alone again!

·         Catch up with old friends by hosting a virtual brunch on a Sunday. Enjoy your coffee, eggs, and toast together from the safety of your own kitchen table.

Sound like fun? Visit Zoom.us to easily create an account and download their application. If you’d like to become a Fountaingate Gardens Founder and enjoy meeting new friends at our weekly Zoom meetings, call 631-715-2693 to learn more today!

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