Metro Travel Buddies share how they’ve adapted to staying at home

Coronavirus is upending everyone’s way of life in Los Angeles County, and it can be an especially trying time for older adults who are more at risk of experiencing loneliness and difficulty accessing vital resources.

Metro’s On the Move Riders Program has helped older adults make connections and lead more active, independent lives through riding public transit. But what are our Travel Buddies to do when they have stay at home? We reached out to a few of our Travel Buddies to see how they’re doing, and we hope their advice might be helpful to others.

A note: Metro remains in service for essential travel and will begin running on a modified Sunday schedule starting Sunday, April 19. If you must ride, please use the following precautions: wear a cloth face covering, maintain physical distance from others, and board and exit buses through rear doors. Check for the latest news updates and service information.

Barbara on a Metrolink outing with friends pre-COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Barbara.

Barbara is a resident of Duarte who used to take transit trips to Seal Beach, Long Beach and Santa Monica for lunch and exercise. Since the stay-at-home order, she has had to limit her trips to around her neighborhood.

“Previously I would shop a few times a week at various stores. Now I shop senior hours every eight to 10 days for fresh produce and dairy,” says Barbara. “Because I’m not going outside very often, I’m watching lots of HGTV and Food Network, plus several Planet Earth programs and other Discovery channel programs. Don’t just watch the news…it’s too depressing!”

However, while it’s important to stay at home, it’s also important to stay connected with family, as well as get some fresh air and exercise.

“My son lives in Azusa, and when he comes over to check in, we both wear masks. And my dog is ready for a walk at all times except when it’s raining,” says Barbara. “She is very protective of me so we’ve always practiced social distancing!”

Marilyn on a trip to Olvera Street. Photo courtesy of Marilyn.

Marilyn is a resident of Los Angeles who frequently hopped on Big Blue Bus, Metro Bus and the E Line (Expo) to get around town. “I was mostly out of the house several days a week doing something or going somewhere! So now my biggest challenge is staying home.”

The rainy cool weather has helped her stay put, though she continues to try to safely get her steps in whenever possible.

“I wear a mask in public. I have made several out of kerchiefs and a cotton one I purchased a long time ago,” says Marilyn. “I’m a retired nurse so wearing a mask is not new to me, although it’s not much fun.”

For those having a tough time being cooped up at home, Marilyn recommends the following:

    1. Try to keep a regular routine — get up and go to bed at set times, make up your bed, and get dressed.

    2. Plan menus for a week — besides good nutritional items, make sure you add some comfort items. It may help some to schedule certain foods for each day of the week. It may make shopping quicker and lower stress over what to prepare each day. Order-in or use pick up as alternative choices, if able.

    3. Don’t watch political news or COVID-19 news all day, it can be very depressing.

    4. Exercise (all sorts of videos on YouTube!); go for a walk around your block or up & down your block.

    5. Pick a room or side of a room to clean or declutter.

Taking a ride on the A Line (Blue). Manuela is on the right. Photo courtesy of Manuela.

Manuela is a resident of Bellflower and frequently rode transit to Orange County. Since the stay-at-home order, she limits her trips to visiting her 94-year-old father with groceries. “I always make sure to keep a safe distance. I use hand sanitizer in the car, and then wash my hands as soon as I get home.”

As she’s not able to spend time with friends in person, Manuela participates in video calls and keeps track of her friends using Facebook and phone calls. And she’s bringing back the forgotten art of letter-writing with longer emails. One of the bigger problems Manuela has faced is staying active, but she’s tackling that like a pro!

“I have always been very busy volunteering and being active, so the first few days were difficult. I am accustomed to riding an exercise bike at the local senior center and really miss that,” Manuela says. “Now I walk around the house keeping track of my steps with a Fitbit. When it is not raining, I am in my garden. I am reading more, cooking every meal and cleaning the house. My husband claims to be bored despite the constantly growing ‘honey-do’ list I create for him! I am not. I’ve been re-reading my favorite books and working on my own to-do list!”

While we can’t wait to go back to riding with our Travel Buddies, we’re happy to see they’re staying safe — and staying connected — at home for now. If you’d like to share some tips or advice on how you’re adapting to being home-bound, leave them in the comments! Below are also a few links to resources for older adults who may need more assistance during this time.

2 replies

  1. Thanks for all the good advice on how to stay busy and active. I’m in my 80’s and used to being out of the house 7 days a week going to my aerobics class, my yoga class, my knitting group, my craft group and my bible study class.

    • Hi Romaine,

      Thanks for reading! Hope you are doing well and staying safe. We know it’s not quite the same to take a yoga class via video, or “gathering” via internet, but we’ll continue to do our best and help everyone stay connected.


      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source