It's been eerily quiet at the Flower Mound Senior Center this past week.
“It's been me and my two full-time staff members, and that's it,” said Jaime Jaco-Cooper, senior center manager.
The senior center is one of several town facilities that have shut down over concerns of the COVID-19 spread.
That's 2,345 members who suddenly don't have a place to spend their days.
So Jaco-Cooper decided if they can't come to the center, she would bring the center to them.
Earlier this week Jaco-Cooper and her staff created a “virtual senior center.” Each day, usually multiple times a day, Jaco-Cooper will send out emails to its members to give them something to do during this time of uncertainty.
“We're just trying to encourage as many of them to participate as we can,” Jaco-Cooper said. “Social distancing is one thing, but isolation is dangerous. That can lead to depression. So anything we can do to get their minds off their troubles.”
Emails include tips on activities they can do.
“A lot of our members watch their grandkids during the day, so we sent them information about fun things they can do, like make crafts, bake cookies and read stories,” Jaco-Cooper said.
She also sends fitness videos the members can follow along with, as well as fitness tips.
Fitness videos are also posted on the center's Facebook page each day at 10 a.m.
“Our instructors were so nice to let us video record them for this,” Jaco-Cooper said. “All the exercises are things they can do from a chair or by standing.”
Jaco-Cooper also sends brain games, such as crossword puzzles, word searches and writing prompts.
The emails also include a virtual craft, as well as virtual tour videos. Wednesday's tour included a trip to Museum of Modern Art in New York, followed by a group discussion afterward.
Jaco-Cooper said the virtual senior center has been well received. Of the approximately 3,000 emails sent out a day, there has been a 42-percent email open rate, she said. She said the center's social media posts usually get 200-250 views, but the virtual senior center posts have garnered 700-800 views. She said page views have gone up 490 percent since Monday.