Writing a personal column is not always the easiest thing for me to do. There are times when coming up with a topic is simply not in the cards. After all, my mind is always shifting back and forth between news and sports coverage, giving little time for reflection on a thought provoking personal piece.
Today’s topic stems from a conversation I overheard last week at the entrance to a senior retirement community in another county. You see, the facility has pretty much been on lock-down since March to discourage visitors during the ongoing pandemic.
As I approached the door to deliver things to a relative, a masked neighbor told me that being confined to their living quarters was essentially like being confined behind bars in prison. The lack of interaction with others outside of their confines was taking an emotional toll on them all.
For the elderly, their loneliness has been amplified by restrictions prompted by this crazy pandemic that continues to linger on and on.
Their social gatherings in the lobby and activities room for card games, group lunches and sewing circles have been put on hold for 10 months now.
Those with families have limited interaction with them to prevent possible exposure to the virus. Many have refrained from going to church for the same reason. This virus has forced social skills of hugging, shaking hands and face-to-face communication to take a back seat for the time being.
It breaks my heart to know there are senior citizens out there who crave interaction that is so very limited these days.
As we enter the Christmas season, please take time to acknowledge your elderly neighbors, friends and church members. Pick up the telephone and give them a call. Hearing your voice may be the perfect pick-me-up for a rather blue period in their life.
Remember snail mail? Drop a Christmas or “Thinking of You” card in the mail to them. It’s always nice to get something other than bills in the mailbox and it will certainly brighten their day to know you thought of them.
Do you enjoy singing? Gather with a few friends and go Christmas caroling in front of your elderly neighbor’s home. They can stay social distanced while you share a little seasonal cheer with them.
Together, let’s embrace our elderly population by keeping them engaged during these difficult social distancing days.