Finding Joy and Connection in a Virtual World
Jen's Journey to a New World of Learning and Connection with GetSetUp
Jen, a learner from California, has found a new world of learning and social connection through GetSetUp. She has had the opportunity to take these classes free of charge thanks to the Greater Sacramento Agency on Aging Area 4. GetSetUp is an online platform that provides older adults with access to interactive classes on a variety of topics, including art, technology, and exercise.
Jen shared that, due to her disability, getting out and going to events was difficult, and the COVID-19 pandemic made her feel even more lonely and isolated.
However, when she discovered GetSetUp, she found joy, stimulation, and companionship. She could stay in her office and participate in fun and stimulating classes.
"A whole new world has opened up to me through GetSetUp, and it’s so convenient. I can stay here in my office and have so much fun," Jen says.
Jen's first class on GetSetUp was an art class on zentangle, a meditative drawing technique. Since then, she has taken a lot of classes, including tech classes, brain games, and exercise classes. She now facilitates the Zentangle Enthusiasts group, where she shares lessons taught by Certified Zentangle Teachers. She's met many other tangle fans, including Anne Anna from Canada, who has become a special friend.
"It stretches me a bit because I don't consider myself a leader, and it's fun to explore that part of my personality in community groups a bit more. Plus zentangle is meditative, and you don’t have to have artistic talent to do it, but it brings together mindful people," Jen says.
Technology classes to gain confidence in tech skills
Jen also shared that the tech classes have been great for her. She considers herself a competent tech user, but she has become even more confident in fixing problems she runs across. She also appreciates the tips she has learned about her Android phone and YouTube videos, which she found really helpful.
“One great tip I learned was about Brave Browser. I’d never heard of it before, but when you use it you don't have to watch the YouTube Ads.”
She regularly takes classes on technology and trivia classes.
"If I can make a class, then I attend it via Zoom. It's really interesting because, in the last few months, it seems like my memory has even gotten better, which surprises the heck out of me. I think classes have helped," Jen says.
GetSetUp has also allowed Jen to pursue new hobbies, such as cooking where she can learn new recipe ideas from an expert. Plus she’s recently taken up book folding, which she finds relaxing and cost-effective.
"I have really been enjoying book folding and never considered myself artistic, but it's been fun to consider this aspect of my personality. Plus I’m downsizing, and it's great to turn old books into works of art," Jen says.
GetSetUp can be a resource for health challenges
Dealing with new health challenges has affected Jen in a number of ways and including the fact she had to stop working sooner than she had initially imagined. She was a writer but has since moved on to the next phase of her life, when she realized her ability to continue that role was no longer possible.
“When you get older, it's challenging, and you have health issues. It’s good to be able to laugh and have fun and do things with friends in these classes.”
She appreciates the mental stimulation and social connection she gains from participating in GetSetUp classes.
"Social activity and connecting with others with similar interests is the most important thing. During COVID, I was so isolated, and to be able to connect with others was so important. Plus, the mental stimulation has been great," she says.
Jen recommends GetSetUp to anyone looking for a way to keep their brains active and connect with others. She believes the mental stimulation that the platform provides is essential for seniors like herself. She administers two Facebook groups, one for chronic pain management and another for weight management, and she has recommended GetSetUp to members of both groups.
"People in my pain management and weight management groups can benefit from the exercise classes, and a couple of people have gotten into the classes and participated," Jen says.
Jen has found that the platform has improved her quality of life and recommends it to others. She appreciates the diversity of classes available on the platform and thinks that there is something for everyone.