Not Letting Your Guard Down During COVID-19
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the top priorities has been to protect vulnerable populations from the virus. So far, by social distancing and sheltering in place, we have been able to shield many seniors from this deadly disease. Unfortunately, we are entering a challenging stage in the fight against COVID-19. On the one hand, the curve is flattening and everyone is eager to get back to their normal lives. On the other hand, the threat of the coronavirus is still very real. Taking steps to continue protecting the seniors in your life could make all the difference.
One of the challenges right now is that many retirees are coming back to northern Michigan after spending the (very long) winter in warmer climates. Families are eager to see their parents or grandparents after having spent months apart. Rather than choose now to start abandoning social distancing recommendations, though, families should encourage their back-in-town relatives to abide by the guidelines set forth by the Northern Michigan Public Health Alliance (NMPHA):
- If you feel sick, stay home
- If you have symptoms that align with COVID-19, contact your health provider immediately
- If you are traveling to the area or returning to northern Michigan from a winter home, self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival
- Once the 14-day self-quarantine period has elapsed, follow Michigan’s stay-at-home order and avoid unnecessary trips into public
- If you must go out, wear a mask and try to maintain social distancing
One positive piece of this pandemic, in way, is that it has given us all a taste of the isolation that most seniors live with every day. It’s a good reason to pick up the phone and call your grandma, or to work out a time for a Zoom call with your dad. During our busy lives, we sometimes forget the power that these little communications have to make the seniors in our lives feel more connected, more loved, and more engaged. Right now, when we’re all feeling the same isolation, calling an older loved one and reminiscing or making them laugh can be a mutual cure for both parties.
If you must visit your parents or grandparents in person, take precautions. Wash your hands upon arrival; wear a mask; disinfect the surfaces everyone touches, from the light switches to the doorknobs to the TV remote control. These steps might feel like overkill as new COVID-19 case numbers drop, but it’s important for none of us to let our guards down. Right now, we’re feeling like we’ve made it through the worst of this pandemic. We’re tired of staying at home, or of not seeing the people we love. When these thoughts strike, remember what we were trying to protect by taking these precautions in the first place. We’ve sacrificed a lot to protect our vulnerable populations; let’s make sure it wasn’t all for nothing.