Seniors find silver lining in pandemic

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Have seniors found the pandemic's silver lining?



senior man hands with pen writing in journal

Coping
Each of us is coping with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in our own way. For some, the change in daily routine hasn't changed much; others, it's significant.

Best news for seniors
As seniors learn how to brave the increased isolation, there is good news to distill from sheltering at home while the virus puts all of our lives on pause. It is the outpouring of love and compassion from those whose mission is to provide seniors with connection and appreciation of what they are enduring.

Connection
Whether it's leaving a meal or groceries on a senior's doorstep, or a phone call or a facetime to check-in, loving stewards from throughout the country are creating new ways for seniors to know they are loved. Some college students concocted a 24-hour joke and story line for seniors to call, where others have volunteered to help seniors in their homes. The new "drive by cheers," where friends, loved ones and senior advocates decorate their cars with balloons, signs and other adornments, then slowly drive by seniors' homes, honking, cheering and waving the signs bedazzled with messages of love and hope. These compassionate souls ask for nothing in return, but their true rewards are the Cheshire cat smiles and waving hands of seniors, as they peer out their windows. We’re connecting on a whole new level that we, as a country, have embraced.


"These difficult times are peppered with silver linings."


Look for the silver lining
Every person has a story to tell about the pandemic through their eyes; every person has been affected differently than their neighbor, both physically and emotionally. One thing for certain, these difficult times are peppered with silver linings.

Silver linings include the above-mentioned acts of love and kindness, as well as familial connections that have been enriched by a heightened sense of empathy and love.  Like never before, the "what-ifs" or the unknown about the coronavirus and our futures, have caused Americans to reflect on their lives, their loved ones and what matters most.

Seniors and their families are initiating conversations, no matter how difficult it is for some, to talk about their feelings for one another, reflecting on the past and sharing hopes for the future.  After nearly two months in isolation, we've all had time to think and count our blessings. A silver lining indeed. 

It's one thing to be able to drive over to Mom's to check on her, but not being able to, weighs on the heart. Proximity-wise, Mom may be two miles from your house, but with quarantine, it can feel like she's a million miles away, 

Reflection
What about you? What are your thoughts as the virus continues its hold on us? Have you rekindled relationships? Learned how to use video chat with your grandchildren? Taken up a new hobby? Maybe learning a new language? Say “I love you” more often?


"We’re counting on you to write history, seniors, through your eyes."


Seniors: preserving family history 
Seniors have a historical perspective to compare yesterday-fears to today's crisis, making them uniquely qualified to be the family historian. What if seniors kept a journal about what it's like today, in contrast to other historical references they’ve experienced such as war, stock market crash, the Great Depression, polio, AIDS, etc?

If you enjoy writing or journaling, consider keeping a journal of your experiences, your feelings and the struggle we're having to contain the virus. You may want to include newspaper clippings, notes you've received from friends and family—even the toilet paper struggle! This is legacy writing, something you can tuck away for future generations to read and learn how you passed the time, stayed safe, weathered the virus, what you worried about most or how compassion from others brightened your stay in quarantine.

Yes, one must look hard to find the silver lining, but it's there. Maybe you're thankful for the outpouring of love by the community or the heightened attention from friends and family. Some are enjoying the opportunity to read, watch new shows or finally finish crocheting the afghan that they haven't had time to finish until now.

Truly, the number one perk is taking your personal connections up a notch or two. Sharing thoughts, fears and expressing feelings is healthy and comforting.

If you'd like to create a family historical document, try journaling as we wade through the pandemic. Or create a time capsule, a scrapbook or video archive. However you choose to document this uncertain time, it will be a family treasure that provides a window into one of the most difficult periods in world history. 

We’re counting on you to write history, seniors, through your eyes.

Helen Bach
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