Things are strange in the U.S. and the rest of world right now. The coronavirus is now not only on our minds, it will be forever etched into our vocabulary. In some ways, it is alarming as we shut down our organizations and our social spaces one by one. Yet all the precautions, in my mind, are good sign. The precautions show that we are taking this seriously. That we are caring for each other, especially the more vulnerable in our society.
In the beginning of March (yes, in the midst of all this COVID-19 outbreak), my book, The Value of Wrinkles: A Young Perspective on How Loving the Old Will Change Your Life was published. It’s something to celebrate considering there were many barriers to writing it. For one, my kids were 1,3, and 5 when I began typing out my first chapters. I don’t recommend writing a book when brushing your teeth is struggle enough. But as I was nursing, potty-training, and constantly crouching down to pick up food thrown on the ground, I kept writing in the wee hours of the night. I felt an urgency to write this book.
Why? In the back of my mind, I’ve been hoping to start a revolution, one where us younger folks (and that can be anyone who is younger than another) boldly step up to bless the seniors in our life. One where we set aside time to call and checkin and visit and chat with our elders. As grandchildren and young adults, we have this special opportunity and super power ability to bless our grandparents, aging parents, older neighbors and friends. Through seemingly small gestures, we can make a BIG difference and show our elderly friends that they matter.
Yesterday it hit me. That right now in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak is when we can show our elderly relatives and friends they matter. TODAY is when this revolution has got to begin.
One phone call to an older person IS SO VERY SIMPLE. But imagine the impact it will have on the way your older friend or relative feels in this COVID-19 mess.
If you call Grandma or Dad or Mr. Smith, they might be suspicious at first. If you call twice, I guarantee they’ll be flattered. If you make it three calls, they will be tickled pink. And if you rise above five calls, no doubt your elderly friend or relative will be beaming after hanging up the phone.
Instead of allowing our elderly relatives and friends to feel isolated during this time, why not make them feel special? So, FRIENDS. Come on. JOIN this revolution. And instead of panic and grieve over this coronavirus outbreak, let’s use this rare opportunity to karate chop bless and bring a smile to the the older people in our communities. Let us start a REVOLUTION!
Two ideas that will make powerful impact:
1. Call or video chat with an older adult (Grandparent, parent, older neighbor, church member or friend) regularly during this social distancing period. Ask them what they’ve been doing, share with them what you’ve been doing, and ask if they need help.
2. Interview your older relative and document some of your history while everything in the world is at a standstill. What do you know about your family history? Where you born? How did you come to the U.S.? Where was your first job? When you ask your elders these questions, they will feel honored.