8/12/2020 | By Terri L. Jones

Most of our lives are pretty busy and chaotic (whether we’re working or retired). We fill our days – morning to night – with working jobs, volunteering, cooking and cleaning, home maintenance, running errands, caring for loved ones, visiting family and friends, and socializing. If someone urged us to “stop and smell the roses,” we’d probably wonder when exactly.

Well, COVID-19 has given us that opportunity. While we all would’ve preferred a different reason to hit the pause button, this moratorium on “life as we know it” has opened the door to a variety of wonderful experiences for all of us.

We asked some seniors what they’d been up to during the pandemic and here’s what we learned.


As the world became quieter, many of us have paid more attention to nature – and birds in particular. As she hikes through the forest each morning, Beverly, who lives in North Carolina, told us she’s been listening to the wood thrush’s harmonious, echoing song, which is a result of its unique double voice box.

Martha, on the other hand, is watching the birds from the comfort of her back porch in Virginia: “What I have saved in not dining out, I have spent on bird seed! I now have five different feeders that I can see from my porch. It is quite a show first thing in the morning and then around 5:30 pm in the evening.”

“I have become more aware of God’s gifts,” says Pat, who also lives in Virginia, “including birds taking a bird bath, feeding our koi fish out of my hand and observing the flowers bloom.”

Love gardening but inhibited by arthritis? No problem.


This downtime has also given us the opportunity to pursue our avocations – old and new! Beverly has used her photography skills to document some of the oldest trees in the region for the GreenWorks Treasured Trees project in Asheville, NC.

Claire, who lives in New Jersey, has begun experimenting with eco-dyeing (pictured right), a process by which you transfer the shapes and colors of natural objects onto paper or textiles (see photos of her work). Eco-dyeing requires very common household items, so Claire was easily able to embark on her new hobby during the stay-at-home orders. The stars of the show, the flowers, leaves and other natural elements, were as close as her backyard!

Thanks to the extra time on their hands, other seniors have resumed old hobbies. Pat, for one, has started painting again, colorizing a black-and-white photo for her granddaughter who is having a baby soon.


Many of us are also deepening our relationships during this time. We’re spending more facetime with those we live with and more Zoom or phone time with those we don’t.

After 21 years of marriage, Nancy appreciates having her husband, who usually travels for work almost every week, home on a full-time basis. Together with their two cats, Bud and Earl, they’re enjoying their slice of heaven on the coast of Oregon. Linda in Maryland has discovered that she’s more of a homebody than she ever knew. She says, “My sweet hubby and I are finding joy and contentment in spending more time together.”

Alice, who lives in Virginia, has made it a point to call people she hasn’t talked to in a while, especially friends in assisted living. She’s also getting cards in the mail to those with whom she had lost touch. 

Plus, most of us have become really comfortable with leveraging technology to “see” friends and family, participate in book clubs and meetings, host parties, and attend religious services. Claire says that her sewing group is even using Zoom to conduct a video tour of members’ sewing rooms.

Whether we’re connecting with friends, exploring new pastimes or communing with nature, most of us are finding ways to take advantage of this unprecedented, slowed-down pace of life. With any luck, we may actually come out the other side of COVID with something positive to show for it!

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over ten years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide.

Terri Jones