When COVID-19 closed schools and shuttered theaters and concert venues, response was swift.
Stars ranging from the Cincinnati zoo’s hippo Fiona to Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda leapt to share free content with suddenly homebound viewers.
Coldplay’s frontman, Chris Martin, separated from his bandmates by international borders, played a mini gig at home, as did country star Keith Urban, with his wife, Nicole Kidman, lurking in the background.
Choreographer Debbie Allen got people off the couch with free dance classes on Instagram.
Audible pledged to provide free audiobooks for little kids and teens for the duration.
An embarrassment of riches for those whose experience of COVID-19 is somewhere between extended snow day and staycation…
But what about caregivers who suddenly find themselves providing 24-7 care for elders with dementia, or neuro-atypical adult children whose upended routine is wreaking havoc on their emotions?
“I know people are happy that the schools have closed but I just lost critical workday hours and if/when day hab closes I will have to take low-paid medical leave AND we will not have any breaks from caregiving someone with 24-7 needs and aggressive, loud behaviors. I feel completely defeated,” one friend writes.
24 hours later:
We just lost day hab, effective tomorrow. My messages for in-home services haven’t been returned yet. Full on panic mode.
What can we do to help lighten those loads when we’re barred from physical interaction, or entering each other’s homes?
We combed through our archive, with an eye toward the most soothing, uplifting content, appropriate for all ages, starting with pianist Paul Barton‘s classical concerts for elephants in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, above.
Hours of soothing nature footage from the BBC.
Commuters in Newcastle’s Haymarket Bus Station Playing Beethoven
Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour’s Musical Take on Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18
Guided Imagery Meditation from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
Four classic performances from the “Father of Bossa Nova” João Gilberto
The Insects’ Christmas, a 1913: Stop Motion Animation
Multiple seasons of Bob Ross!
60+ Free Charlie Chaplin Films Online
Homemade American Music, a 1980 documentary on rural southeastern traditional music and musicians
Winsor McKay’s Gertie the Dinosaur
Calming Music and Audio:
Metallica, REM, Led Zeppelin & Queen Sung in the Style of Gregorian Chant
18 Hours of Free Guided Meditations
Weightless, the most relaxing song ever made
Calming Piano, Jazz & Harp Covers of Music from Hayao Miyazaki Films
240 Hours of Relaxing, Sleep-Inducing Sounds from Sci-Fi Video Games: From Blade Runner to Star Wars
Simon & Garfunkel Sing “The Sound of Silence” 45 Years After Its Release
We’ve also got a trove of free coloring books and pages, though caregivers should vet the content before sharing it with someone who’s likely to be disturbed by medical illustration and images of medieval demons…
Readers, if you know a resource that might buy caregivers and their agitated, housebound charges a bit of peace, please add it in the comments below.
The Therapeutic Benefits of Ambient Music: Science Shows How It Eases Chronic Anxiety, Physical Pain, and ICU-Related Trauma
Free Guided Imagery Recordings Help Kids Cope with Pain, Stress & Anxiety
Chill Out to 70 Hours of Oceanscape Nature Videos Filmed by BBC Earth
Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday.
Royal Opera House London free streaming some of their operas and ballet – see website.
NY Met – Wagnerfest all next week.
More to come I’m sure.
We’ve already organised two family not-gatherings across different cities and countries, we’ll donate to the organisations involved. 💚💚💚💚
I love you do much for your thoughtfulness.