Crises seem to give people the impetus to help others. In these times, people are so willing to give their time, energy, and money to help others, even if they themselves are struggling. I find something so deeply, profoundly human in the desire to support those around us who are hurting. I believe that crises bring to the forefront of our minds how short life can be. Crises remind us how important it is to set aside differences and focus on the shared desire to help others survive. Right now, the world is experiencing the effects of a crisis through Covid-19, which makes it all the more necessary to direct our support to those who need love and kindness.
Living through a pandemic is our new reality. It is a fact of life, unfortunately. But as I spend my days preoccupying myself at home, I have continued to see one message pop up: reaching out to those experiencing loneliness. Of course, we are supposed to be social distancing, but there are still many ways to share your time with others. One of the most vulnerable communities to loneliness are older folks in our lives. Whether they are your parents, your grandparents, or an aunt twice removed, now is the time to reach out and support the older members of your family. Even though our American culture has drifted away from the multigenerational family, we can still find ways to show our older family members how important they are to us in this time. It is important to value the older generation and gain their unparalleled wisdom. Now is the perfect time to reach out.
Here are a few ways that we can connect with our older family members and remind them how special they are to us:
1. Use facetime/zoom/skype to see your family members face to face
2. Create a letter/email your family members to tell them how much they mean to you
3. Interview older members of your family over the phone to learn more about their lives
4. Ask your family members to explain your family tree (and then draw it out!)
5. Offer to buy their groceries
6. Make a craft to give to your older family members after the pandemic is over
7. Ask your family members, “What is the meaning of life?”
8. Play a game over facetime/zoom/skype with your older family members
9. Give your family members a call to remind them you are thinking of them
10. Send a box of goodies, things they might like and need
11. Ask your older family members how you can support them during this time
While we may be living in the midst of a global pandemic that seems to be increasing in severity each day, this crisis is also a time to recognize that all of life’s moments are important. I have seen such an outpouring of love and support from different communities across the globe. This pandemic is giving us an opportunity to show others how important they are to us, to take actions to help others who are struggling, and to spread kindness in this emotionally challenging time. Even the smallest of kind acts can make a monumental difference in someone’s life during this time.
We may not have control of the pandemic, but we do have control over showing our family members how much we love them. We have the ability to remind our older family members (and all family members for that matter) we are still here for them and make time to show our love for these special people in our lives.
While these suggestions are tailored towards older family members, acts of kindness can also be directed toward seniors in our communities, outside of our families. Our senior community members need our support during this time. Take the time to create and send a letter to a senior home or assisted living facility. Create a video message via Care, Not Covid to be a “virtual visitor” and brighten one person’s day. Reach out to your local senior living center to stop loneliness and share kindness with older folks in your communities.
Take the time to reconnect and spread love today. There is truly no better time than now.
And don’t forget to check out these communities and organizations that you can send a letter/message to seniors today!