Terri T., a retired nurse and social worker, is no stranger to being around anxiety and isolation with her work. The pandemic further exasperated these feelings for many people and brought them to the forefront for those who hadn’t previously had to deal with them.
Terri realized that a lot of her anxiety lifted when she found GetSetUp thanks to an email from her local area agency on aging - Sacramento’s Agency on Aging Area 4.
“GetSetUp was a godsend for me. I signed up less than two months ago and now I’ve logged over 300 classes. I just can’t believe it. It’s been a great distraction for me. I thought I was ok as far as the computer world was concerned but I have learned a lot about Google, Zoom, and even Facebook that I didn’t know before.”
To help fellow older adults who were feeling anxious about the pandemic she decided to share her own anxieties and connect with others through hosting a GetSetUp Interest Group.
“I’ve been isolated in the pandemic, but I haven’t felt a lot of the stressors. I was a bit “out of the loop” before it hit. Now that things are opening up it will be different to physically get back out there.”
Terri knows that one way to help with anxiety is to discuss it in a group setting which is why she created the group Interest Group: Returning to 'Normal' After the Pandemic.
“Some people are having a hard time getting back out there again. A lot of concern is around going out to eat. As an older person that’s a lot of our socialization getting together for lunch or coffee. But there are a lot of questions: What’s happening in the restaurant? Why is there not enough staff? What about the variants? Will I be stuck back in isolation if I don’t do this now?”
The Returning to Normal After the Pandemic group is talking through all these anxieties. Since vaccination is a personal preference each person has to decide for themselves how comfortable they are interacting with those not vaccinated or with strangers, according to Terri.
Terri wants to help older adults feel less anxious and more comfortable returning to normal. While normal is all relative, and life may never be exactly the same as pre-COVID-19, Terri believes that her group can find a path forward and discover a 'new normal' together.
So if you are hesitant to get out there post-pandemic, join Terri in her group. Together the group will take a deep breath and talk about resilience and the ability to help each other through the transition.
Terri offered some helpful tips for dealing with anxiety in getting back “out there” as things open up. Most of her tips stem from personal awareness, which is key in this process.
Personal comfort levels are important for each person to establish for themselves. What a person feels comfortable at each stage in their individual process will differ as restrictions lift just like they differed during the pandemic.
“I didn’t even go to the doctor during the pandemic. Fortunately, nothing happened that I couldn’t handle online. But, many people, like myself, were alone and single, so GetSetUp was a blessing to see and talk to other people.”
Now Terri is feeling not only part of a community but empowered to lead an interest group on Zoom and be more verbal on camera!
Terri has found peers from across the country on GetSetUp, many of whom have moved around like herself.
Terri was raised in upstate New York and went out to California to celebrate her 20th birthday. Soon after that birthday she quit her job and packed her bags for the West coast. She was an LPN for 40 years but got tired of doing hands-on nursing, so went back to school for social work which she’s done for the past 20 years. Even though she’s no longer nursing, she still views social work through that lens.
“Even though I’m not a nurse anymore, the nursing hat never comes off. I see people I am caring for have medication that’s not taken or an odd diet and I look deeper.”
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Her Master’s project took her on mission work for five years in rural Ghana, where she focused on community health. She studied nutrition and hygiene in the area she was working. She taught hand washing in a rural village without electricity or running water, which she knew was effective when her community only had one family get cholera in an outbreak two years later.
So considering all the work she’s done to help people throughout her life, it is no surprise when she joined the GetSetUp community her first thought was on an interest group to help others. Terri is growing her virtual community the same way she built her in person community around supporting others.
The GetSetUp community is also supporting Terri. Through diverse classes Terris is learning new skills to facilitate her interest group. She likes to hop in classes on a whim because she knows she'll learn something new. Plus she regularly enjoys cooking, exercise, and meditation classes.
“It’s great to have exercises to do while seated. I have an issue with my hip. So the seated exercises and some of the yoga classes have been really good.”
Terri has realized there is a whole new world of classes to explore virtually that are always changing. As a host and learner she knows there's a lot out there to do and explore.
“GetSetUp has been great! I’ve told everybody I know. Now many friends can’t understand why they can’t get me on the phone - It's because I’m always engaged in live classes. It’s taken me away from the TV which is a good thing. I’ve taken over 300 hours of classes in 5 weeks!”
See why Terri has given up TV to be a part of a live interactive community on GetSetUp by joining a class!
“GetSetUp is really breaking down the stereotype of what it means to be an old person. . . ."
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