Virtual Programs to Keep Your Community Happy and Healthy

Chances are, you joined the board at your HOA or condo because you’re extremely passionate about the community and want to improve the experience of the other residents within it. Part of adding value to residents in your community is offering classes and programs for them to participate in to get to know their neighbors and offer opportunities for them to stay happy and healthy.

Of course, during the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing, no one can participate in the activities your community thoughtfully plans and presents to your residents. How can your board and management team continue to provide other residents with the programs they’ve come to love while still respecting social distancing and stay at home orders associated with COVID-19?

The good news is you have access to an abundance of great wellness and fitness programs online. If there’s one thing this pandemic has done, it has professionals from a wide variety of industries getting creative with how they share their gifts and instructions with the rest of the world, thanks in large part to technology.

Read on to find some suggestions for great virtual programs for communities like yours.

Meditate the Stress Away

Meditation is clinically proven to be helpful for dealing with a variety of stressors, including the emotional stress of being quarantined in a global pandemic. Meditation allows residents to take a break from dwelling on the things that stress them out by actively redirecting their thoughts.

There are several highly rated apps to choose from for great guided meditation sessions:

  • Headspace
  • Calm
  • Aura
  • Stop, Breathe & Think

If you want residents to be able to get social and share their meditation experience with other residents, another app, Insight Timer, has released a feature called Insight Circle which allows you to set up private and customizable mediation sessions that anyone in the circle can join at a set time. You can connect with your community on a whole new level without ever leaving home!

Work Up a Sweat with a Variety of Online Workouts

The beauty of the internet is that there is a workout for everyone at every level. Many fitness apps are offering 1- and 2-month free trials of their programs during the coronavirus outbreak, so residents can try a variety of workouts at no cost.

You can also reach out to local gyms, yoga studios and personal trainers to work out a partnership with your community. They can offer classes and training tips via YouTube or live classes through video conferencing platforms.

FirstService Residential communities around North America have created numerous partnerships like this.

Send emails to your residents with lists of available online fitness resources available to them and try to set a schedule just as you would for in-person programming.

Pick Up a New Hobby

Your residents have a lot of free time at home on their hands right now and it’s the perfect time to encourage them to try something new. This can be anything from some of the wellness practices discussed above to learning to play a new instrument or growing an indoor garden.

Poll residents to see what skills and/or hobbies they’re working to refine while at home and see if there are any skills that are particularly popular. Residents might be interested in knowing if their neighbors are learning the same things they are. They may even be able to practice together in the future once stay at home orders are lifted.

Serve Up Culinary Excellence

Part of a healthy lifestyle includes eating food that nourishes your body and mind. Encourage residents to drop the delivery and start cooking their own gourmet meals at home. Reach out to local restaurants to see if their chefs would be willing to offer virtual cooking classes to your community.

Encourage residents to share photos and recipes of their latest creations online to inspire others to try cooking something new for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Hold a Virtual Book Club

Just because residents are spending more time at home doesn’t mean that they can’t expand their horizons. Offer a virtual book club for residents to join each week and get together while still staying apart.

Reading something new and sharing in discussions with fellow residents helps to satisfy that social itch that some of the more extroverted residents may be experiencing right now due to COVID-19 regulations. Who knows? One book club may inspire others on differing titles and topics!

Go on a Trip without Leaving the House

Don’t let stay at home orders keep your residents from exploring theme parks, zoos, aquariums and museums online. Many popular destinations offer virtual tours of their parks, zoos, exhibits and more. Here is a list of just a few of the attractions residents can “visit” from the comfort of their couch:

  • Walt Disney World: Set aside some time, because there’s plenty to see here. Virtual tours you can take include Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot, just to name a few.
  • The Cincinnati Zoo: Check in around 3 p.m., because that’s the time the zoo holds a daily home safari on its Facebook Live Feed.
  • MoMA (The Museum of Modern Art): New York’s extensive collection is available for view online.
  • Georgia Aquarium: Sea-dwellers like African penguins and Beluga whales are the stars of this aquarium’s live cam.
  • LEGOLAND Florida Resort: The Great Lego Race and Miniland USA are just two of the attractions you can check out in a virtual tour of the park.
  • NASA: Both Virginia’s Langley Research Center and Ohio’s Glenn Research Center offer online tours for free. Also, you can try some “augmented reality experiences” via The Space Center Houston’s app.
  • Houston Zoo: There are plenty of different animals you can check in on with this zoo’s live cam, but we highly recommend watching the playful elephants.
  • SeaWorld Orlando: The virtual tour of SeaWorld includes a tour of Discovery Cove and the option to “ride” the steel roller coaster Mako.
  • Atlanta Zoo: This Georgia zoo keeps a “Panda Cam” livestream on its website.
  • The Shedd Aquarium: This Chicago aquarium shares some pretty adorable behind-the-scenes footage of their residents on Facebook.
  • National Aquarium: Walk through tropical waters to the icy tundra in this floor-by-floor tour of the famous, Baltimore-based aquarium.
  • The Vatican Museum: The Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and Raphael’s Room, are just some of the sites you can see on the Vatican’s virtual tour.

While residents may be forced to stay indoors due to the coronavirus, there’s no reason your community can’t continue to provide them with the variety of healthy and fun programs they’ve come to know and love, but with a virtual twist.

Learn how FirstService Residential is helping its communities across North America stay fit and connected through a variety of virtual programs for their residents.