Locking down alone – how to support those in solo bubble

If you’re locked down with family or friends, consider yourself lucky. Many individuals are entering their second or third weeks of living completely alone! If you know of someone who is going solo on Alert level 4, here are six simple ways to keep contact with them, and support them in a fun and meaningful way.

  1. Scavenger hunt

We all love a challenge. And fortunately, while in lockdown, we still have the opportunity to step outdoors for exercise in our local environment. Use the time to create a photographic ‘scavenger hunt’  challenge with a friend who lives alone. Draw up a list of ‘finds’ you and your friend must record with a snapshot, and share the results via email or a social media app at the end of the day. Scavenger hunt for the likes of: a wall mural, a memorial, a graceful tree, a sculpture, native bird, best-dressed bear in a window, flowering plant, or historic home … the list is endless.

  1. Reminisce

As we’re all discovering, conversation in lockdown can be limited! That’s why it pays to call on the past for stimulating subjects to chat about. Challenge a friend living alone to search out photos that feature both you and them. Do the same yourself, then share your finds with each other via the internet using Skype or a social media app. See if you can both remember exactly where and when the photo was taken. You’ll be surprised at the conversation that ensues!

  1. Share a crossword

While it can be awkward to call a friend every day when you have little left to talk about, sharing a joint activity such as solving a crossword can be fun and stimulating. Make sure you are each receiving the same newspaper, clip out the crossword, and make an internet or phone date to work on it together. The time will fly as you nut out the clues together.

  1. Cook a shared meal or cake, and eat it ‘together’

Cooking alone takes on a new dimension when you and a friend decide to follow the same recipe and compare the results! Take turns at choosing the recipe you will follow, and then meet ‘virtually’ or by phone to compare the results. Make a date to eat your results ‘together’, and don’t forget to lay the table and dress up formally for the occasion!

  1. Word games from a distance

Challenge a friend to a word game such as Scrabble, or similar, by logging into the likes of ‘Words with Friends’ available from Google Play Store. It will keep you and your ‘home alone’ buddy amused for hours.

  1. Don’t stop going to the movies!

If you and a friend have a regular movie date, don’t let lockdown deny you of your shared pleasure. Sign up for Netflix and enjoy your usual fun of first choosing a movie you both want to watch, and then watching it it ‘together’ in real-time. Nothing is surer than as soon as it’s finished, you’ll be calling each other for a debrief of every scene!

However you connect with a friend who is ‘home alone’ during lockdown, don’t underestimate the importance of keeping up the contact. You may not be a front line medico is the war against COVID-19, but you’ll be supporting someone who, like all of us, depends on meaningful contact to maintain their mental health. And that deserves a medal!