COVID-19 cases continue to increase, and projections aren’t looking promising after many gathered during the holidays.
As we enter a fifth week under the Regional Stay-at-home order, more people will be facing isolation, particularly seniors.
“I’m very outgoing and to all of a sudden be so vulnerable feeling and I don’t have any control over that,” said Jan Garbosky.
She’s a retired teacher, in her 70s, and considered “high-risk” if exposed to COVID-19. She told NBC 7 she lives alone and remembers the first few days of the pandemic as daunting.
“Every decision I made felt like it could be a life or death situation for me,” said Garbosky.
She said she knew she’d have to stay home and away from others to protect herself and realized the time alone could become difficult.
“Negative thoughts can come in, fear can come in and your world gets smaller and smaller,” said Garbosky. Which is why a few weeks into the pandemic she found her outlet through Oasis, a local non-profit, designed to keep seniors active, engaged and connected.
“This is day 290 being in my bubble of one and Oasis has been with me, not on weekends, but almost every other day,” said Garbosky. “Oh my gosh, I’ve taken over 70 classes since the start of the pandemic.”
“History, philosophy, art, fitness, really nothings off the table. We’ve managed to transition everything online,” said Simona Valanciute, the president and CEO of San Diego Oasis. “Our purpose, our mission is to solve social isolation.”
She said the program has grown internationally and volunteers offer tech support for those who are new and reluctant to try online classes.
“New things are frightening, new places to go are frightening, but that is what life is about, challenging ourselves. It makes life interesting and worth living,” said Garbosky.
Valanciute said there is no membership fee. Some classes are free while others cost about $10 to $20 per session, depending on which class members wish to join.