|Posted on March 30, 2020 at 9:35 AM|
The new buzz phrase these days is “social distancing.” With the COVID-19 pandemic in progress, we are encouraged to stay at home and if we must be out (for essentials) then we are to maintain as much as possible a distance of six feet from others. Hundreds of videos are out there showing how to sanitize things we buy and how to keep our homes clean.
I understand the necessity for the precautions – this virus is so easily spread from person to person, and it takes days before symptoms show up. It’s only prudent that we protect ourselves and others by following the guidelines presented to us and keep away from others as much as possible.
It hasn’t been too bad for me so far. I have my husband to converse with and share chores and meals. Our home is large enough that I can distance myself from him if needed, for my sanity or for his! We head out for walks and take the car only to pick up essentials and to get takeout to support our local restaurants. The copious news reports fill the airwaves all day, but I only pay attention to them once in the morning and once in the evening. That’s enough news for me. And we have several cleaning and repair projects we are tackling which help pass the time.
But sadly, some people, especially older ones, aren’t doing as well as we are. Many live alone – maybe in a house or condo but often in a senior living facility. For them it can get pretty lonely. These people no longer are able to meet their friends for coffee or a meal, nor even pass time in the dining room or social room of their building. For those who do not have computers, their main forms of connection are the television, radio and their phone. They are seriously feeling the downsides of social distancing.
To help alleviate some of the stress of social distancing for these folks, I have made it a priority to check in with some people every day. I make phone calls, write texts and send messages using Facebook, video chat with Messenger and Duo, and even say hello to my neighbors when I go out for walks. When I do this, so often I hear they are so grateful that I reached out. Even though they may have their children or building staff checking on them, it’s always nice to hear from other people.
I have also offered to go out to get things if they need something. We have to make trips out anyway, and I can certainly pick up something extra. No one has taken me up on that offer yet, but it may happen. It seems we may have many weeks of the stay-at-home situation ahead of us.
Another idea I heard about was (on a nice day) getting a few friends to each drive to a drive-through, get meals, then go to a parking lot where you can park your cars 6 feet apart with the windows open. You can eat your meal and chat a little bit. I haven’t tried this yet – but if someone is interested in experimenting with me using this concept, let me know!
This week, if you have the ability to connect with others during this time of social distancing, I encourage you to do so. Call, text, email or even write a letter. Set up a video chat. Family and friends will be grateful to hear from you, and your connection could be just what they need to stay encouraged. And if the people are willing, say a prayer with them too. Remind them that God is with us, even if we are a bit uncertain about what our future holds.
Be a friend to someone today – reach out across the social distance. You will bless them, and yourself, too.
Have a blessed Monday!
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