The idea of talking to our older family members about this novel coronavirus is striking fear into the hearts of all of us, however, it needs to be done.
This has been my biggest fear since hearing about this virus. We go to see my 90-year-old grandma twice a week. The kids and I clean up her condo and pick up her groceries. She loves to see her great-grandkids and they love her more. She watches the news 3 times a day, she knows what is going on in the world. This amazing lady has seen more in 90 years than I could ever imagine. I probably shouldn’t worry, but I do.
So how do you have a conversation with someone who has way more life experience than you and how do you broach this topic?
Remember a few things:
- Just talk to them, this isn’t their 1st rodeo.
- They are not children and you can’t force them into bending to your will.
- Cover the bases, you don’t need to freak out. Just cover the important issues.
So how can we help the over 80 set, and what needs to be discussed?
- Make sure you have emergency contacts in place in case they need to reach out. This includes family members, doctors, pharmacies, and the coronavirus hotline.
- If they have a caregiver make sure there is someone to fill in, in case of illness
- Cancel all non-essential appointments, even general check-ups.
- Make sure they are stocked up with basic essentials to cover at least a few weeks. This would include toiletries, laundry detergent, simple meals, and medications. If you need help with getting these items you can find local help here.
- Ask them to limit their exposure to public places, continue to exercise and eat right.
- Remind them to make sure they are washing their hands frequently. Make sure to follow these preventative measures as well.
- Here is a good guideline to follow from CNN. You can print this out and place it where needed.
Please don’t isolate yourself from them either unless you are sick. People still need people, we are social creatures by nature. If at all possible and your loved ones have the capabilities to video chat set up teleconference Dr appointments and calls with family. This will help to offset loneliness and boredom.
One thing I talked to my dad and grandma about was how we could limit our exposure. We discussed using the grocery pick up or Instacart instead of going into the store. Grandma is well stocked in books and movies for the time being. We have a list set up by the phone in case she needs anyone. She is handling this like a champ and most of the people in her building are as well. The most important thing we can do to support the older people in our lives is to follow the guidelines set by the CDC and also use common sense. Proper handwashing, social distancing, stay home if you are sick. We are all in this together, be safe and stay well and take care of the ones who need us most.