Showing Love for Aging Parents during COVID-19
Published on November 29, 2020
There is no doubt about it - the COVID-19 pandemic has been a crisis of historic proportions. Many of us have lost loved ones and most of us know someone personally that has suffered through being infected with this horrible virus. The health, life, and economic impacts of COVID-19 have etched an indelible mark on 2020, but there are other impacts that we should all be attentive to. Emotional pain and loneliness, particularly among the elderly, are real consequences of the social distancing and other public health recommendations that have resulted from COVID-19, important though they may be.
An essential part of our emotional well-being is interacting with others and feeling a sense of belonging. Social distancing impacts the amount of time we spend with our relatives and curtails the quality of our interactions. Understanding this should prompt us to develop strategies aimed at maintaining healthy and supportive relationships, which are even more important at this time. What can we do?
Each one of us that has an aging parent, and especially a parent that lives alone, should prioritize speaking with them every day, even if it’s just a “good morning” or “good night.” We all have time for this. If in doubt, consider for a moment the amount of time we spend online or perusing social media. Surely, we can make time for this important phone call, every day. Our parents deserve this.
Second, take a real interest in your parents’ well-being. They need to feel loved and appreciated, but they may have other needs as well. One of these needs is to have someone that will listen to them and take sincere interest in their concerns. Beyond a cordial greeting, as time and commitments allow, seek to take a genuine interest in what they have to say.
Third, visit as much as reasonably possible, while factoring your own exposures and potential to be a vector for infection based on your contacts and movements. If you are a healthcare worker or work in a job with a high level of contact with other people, such as in a grocery store, in addition to taking public health protocols seriously, it would be best to limit close contacts with your aging parents. Ratchet up the phone calls, FaceTime them, or use other videoconferencing apps as often as possible. These simple measures will go a long way to make your aging parents feel valued.
Fourth, in this COVID-19 environment, be sure to discuss what they should be doing to stay healthy and help them if possible. Do not take for granted that they know what to do. Talk with them to make sure that they know what to do, and what not to do. It is easy nowadays to purchase face masks and hand sanitizer, even online. Take care if this for your aging parents. Download and share public health guidance. Below are several quality sources of information that you can share with your aging parents. Even if they have these bases covered, the extra concern will be appreciated and is a great way to show love and appreciation.
Helpful Health Information
Thoughtful Acts of Kindness
- Send dinner from their favorite restaurant or their favorite type of food once a week, or from time to time. GrubHub and UberEats make doing this a cinch.
- Drop off or send groceries using Amazon.com from time to time. This is also easy to do.
- Ask if you can assist with any tasks around the house, such as changing light bulbs, cleaning out the garage, cutting the lawn, and so forth.
- Send flowers or a box of candy.
- Send them a gift. It does not have to cost much and there is no reason to wait for a holiday or birthday. Show love and appreciation as often as you can!
Reflect from time to time on the kindness and love that your parents showed you and consider how small expressions can allow us to give a bit of that love in return.
Far too many people have lost their parents due to COVID-19. We may not be able to fully protect our parents from this deadly virus, any more than we can guarantee that we will never be exposed. But we can take steps to help reduce their exposure. We can also reassure them of our love and appreciation for the many times that they were there for us.
Published on November 29, 2020