SAN DIEGO–From politics to COVID-19 vaccines, there are many things happening in the world today that can disturb one’s peace of mind.
If you’re finding you’re in need of a positive distraction, local nonprofit San Diego Oasis encourages older adults 50 and up to attend its diverse online classes happening nearly every day of the week year-round.
“It’s more important than ever to keep our older adult community engaged physically and mentally,” says Simona Valanciute, president and CEO, San Diego Oasis. “The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed our way of living, but also our bodies and minds. Older adults are experiencing these changes, but when coupled with prolonged social isolation it can cause the aging process to happen much faster than expected. Our online classes are the remedy to battle the challenges the pandemic has thrown their way. We provide exercise and flexibility classes, technology workshops, and so much more, giving our students an array of classes that will keep them active and independent to help stop the aging clock.”
Older adults ages 50 and over are not only in the highest risk category of contracting the coronavirus, but also for social isolation and loneliness. One study says that prolonged isolation and loneliness is equivalent, and as lethal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. But when older adults live their life with purpose and actively engage, they are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s and also retain strong hand grips and walking speeds, as well as have a positive attitude and feel more connected and curious to explore the world.
Whether it be a fitness class, an art class or a history class, San Diego Oasis has a topic of interest for anyone anywhere in the world. The nonprofit strives to make its classes, workshops and events accessible to older adults not just across the region, but also around the globe. Due to the pandemic the organization’s recent annual Fitness-Palooza event went virtual, making the videos attainable internationally at any time. This is an on demand option that provides older adults anywhere the opportunity to stay on top of their fitness and wellness goals in the new year.
In collaboration with Cox Communications, San Diego Oasis also hosts multiple free technology-focused classes, including tips on how to use smartphones, social media, and Zoom, as well as buying and selling online, computer basics, and more. “Cox Presents” classes in February, March, and April are now available on San Diego Oasis’ website.
If you have a parent or grandparent who is isolated and alone during the pandemic, then you understand the need for brain stimulation and socialization for older adults. San Diego Oasis works to change the way people experience aging and encourages them to pursue meaningful lives through education and service, as well as strives to provide engagement, learning and peer communication to the older adult population to keep them active, healthy and involved in the world.
While other senior recreation programs went on hiatus or closed their doors, the pandemic has not slowed San Diego Oasis down. The nonprofit moved all of their classes online successfully becoming a “senior center without walls,” offering hundreds of workshops to combat social isolation among older adults and to encourage community, connection, and conversation. And by shifting their classes online, they are attracting an audience from all over the U.S., not just San Diego, and are also hosting instructors from world-class institutions.
Online classes and events are either free or low-cost. A list of San Diego Oasis’ February and March classes and events can be viewed at sandiegooasis.org.