Schedule one hour tonight to call your parents or an elderly family member and talk to them about COVID-19. Get a warm or cold drink, sit down in a comfortable chair, and relax while you connect with the most important people in your life. Don’t rush to get off the phone because you have things to do. They can wait. Being highly trained in the medical field you will be able to explain how COVID-19 could effect them and how they should take precautions and prepare. Talk to them about symptoms to be aware of and discuss a tentative plan for care if they get sick.
Check on how they are doing for toilet paper. OMG who is hording all the toilet paper? Don’t get me wrong, I was tempted to go buy toilet paper when I heard about the shortage, but figured the manufacturers will crank up the supply lines to make up for it. Make sure family members know about home delivery services offered by most grocery stores.
After the initial conversation, ask how they are doing emotionally. We know that many seniors suffer from depression and loneliness. During this time of social distancing, they may feel more isolated than ever. Talk about some good memories that you share together. Suggest some meaningful projects which can bring back happy memories (and release serotonin) and that they can share with the family such as posting old family photos on the web or doing a family tree and telling the stories of their grandparents. What about writing the story of their most important moments in their lives. Or maybe this is a good time to clean out closets and put some bags out for goodwill. Deep connections in life, are the most important factor in longevity, as we know from studies. Don’t let the hysteria of the moment let you lose focus on what matters.