Michigan health administrators have been very clear the past week. Medically vulnerable residents in Michigan, especially those living in group settings, need to shelter in place tomorrow rather than join family holiday gatherings. The recommendations and warnings about large family gatherings have been met with a lot of complaints. Many say they won’t pay attention and will join with however many of their friends and family members they want to for Thanksgiving.  But for those living in adult group residence facilities, the choices are reduced. Especially since the state has told managers of those facilities to do what they can to encourage their elderly or vulnerable residents to stay put.

Now the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is scheduling a bunch of virtual events to help those folks have a way to connect with others, maybe even their own family members or friends. What’s coming up is a series of Thanksgiving-themed social hours. That includes a social hour tomorrow afternoon. The series started off yesterday with an event focusing on gratitude. The remaining schedule looks like this:

-Wednesday, Nov. 25, 11:30 a.m., Thanksgiving Then and Now Social Hour

-Thursday, Nov. 26, 3 p.m. Thanksgiving Fun Social Hour

-Friday, Nov. 27, noon. Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipe Swap Social Hour

Dr. Alexis Travis is the Senior Deputy Director of the Michigan Aging and Adult Services Agency. Dr. Travis points out, “Older adults are at greater risk for complications related to coronavirus and have had to follow public health guidelines closely, including social distancing. We believe this platform will help reduce social isolation by empowering older adults when it comes to using technology while providing a safe place to learn, grow and make friends.”

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Advance registration for the social hours is required. The events can be accessed by phone, or online. Click here to register, or you may register by phone at 1-888-559-1614. Michigan’s senior residents are able to connect with over 150 free online group classes designed for and led by older adults. Some of the more popular classes include how to use a smartphone or tablet, how to use services like video conferencing, Gmail, Facebook, YouTube, as well as virtual social hours.

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