For many of us, our plans for 2020 have been upended by COVID-19 and stay at home policies enacted by state and local governments. Whether our plans were big vacations or little everyday meetings, we can feel a sense of dissonance. You might not feel connected to people or places the same way you felt before COVID-19 influenced our daily lives.
That’s okay. We’re feeling it too.
At Independent Futures, we have made tough decisions to cancel our activities through the end of April. We have also postponed SPARK, our annual benefit, until November 7th. These are big disappointments for our community, but they were important for all of our health and safety.
However, all of these changes don’t mean we have to feel disconnected. Thanks to the technology most of us have at home, we can still feel close to friends and family through digital tools.
Tools For Staying Connected Through COVID-19
Our staff has been working away from the office since March 16th. We will continue to do so until the governor and mayor lift our stay-at-home policies. In the meantime, we have been staying connected to each other using a number of tools. We’ve even been exploring ways to move some activities online!
Tools To Maintain Relationships
For Apple users, Facetime is a great option that is reliable. For non-Apple users, log into a Google account and find Google Duo. This is a free and pretty trusty solution for when you want to see your friends, family, or coworkers. Finally, Zoom is another option that is easy to use and dependable. None of these options requires downloading and installing new software. Give one a try!
Social apps are also a great way to stay connected to your friends during social isolation. Our staff uses some cool ones to connect. Netflix Party is an app that allows you and your friends to watch something at the same time and talk via a chat box on the screen. Marco Polo allows you to send video snippets to friends and respond to the stories they tell you. Finally, House Party is a video chat app that has fun games like Heads Up and trivia.
Each of these 6 tools can help you and your friends or family with staying connected through COVID-19. Though they can’t replace face-to-face interaction, they can help us get through the next few weeks at home – together.
Access Living Resources for the Disability Community
Our friends at Access Living created a list of resources that the disability community may find helpful. These comprehensive resources range from accurate news sites and grocery store hours to caregiving resources and self-care tips.
Use these resources to help yourself or your friends. During this time, we can all come together to make our time at home easier. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to reach out to old friends. By staying home and staying healthy, we will make it through this together.
Until We See You Again
Our current stay-at-home policy is in effect until April 30th in Illinois. In the meantime, reach out to Independent Futures if you need support.
We are checking the office email and phone every day. Our tutors and Community Life Coordinators continue to support participants via virtual check-ins. Our community is strong. We will see each other again soon.