Island Senior: Coping With Coronavirus

Posted March 16, 2020 at 5:45 am by

Island Senior is a reg­u­lar col­umn on the San Juan Update writ­ten by Peg­gy Sue McRae…

Staying Home - Peggy Sue McRae photo

Things have moved so swift­ly with the coro­n­avirus it seems like we were just watch­ing it on the news unfold­ing in Chi­na then sud­den­ly it was close to home. Now our schools, the library, church­es and offices are closed and we find our­selves in the hot spot of a glob­al pandemic.

As unnerv­ing as the sit­u­a­tion is our com­mu­ni­ty gives me faith we will pull through this. I gro­cery shopped on Sat­ur­day among oth­ers who were stock­ing up to hun­ker down.  The shelves were being restocked as I shopped. I’m so grate­ful for the peo­ple who work in this town from our pub­lic health offi­cials to the check­ers at the mar­ket. These peo­ple take care of us.

Yes­ter­day the Update post­ed, A Mes­sage From The Mullis Cen­ter. The com­mu­ni­ty lunch pro­gram has been sus­pend­ed for the time being how­ev­er Meals on Wheels will still be oper­a­tional. If you are 60 or over, home bound and need a meal, con­tact the Mullis Cen­ter 360.378.7926. Senior trips to Belling­ham and Mt Ver­non are on hia­tus for the dura­tion too but if you need assis­tance for essen­tial trans­porta­tion con­tact senior ser­vices at 360.378.2677.

The Blood Dri­ve is still hap­pen­ing. It is impor­tant to give blood because the sup­ply is low right now. What’s not hap­pen­ing is the Pan­cake Break­fast, Book-club, Bin­go, Blood Pres­sure Clin­ic, Tues­day Chair Yoga, Let­ter Writ­ers, Wednes­day Paint­ing, Thurs­day Chair Yoga Mahjong, Bridge, Bal­ance, and Quil­ters. That’s a lot that is not happening. 

If you are iso­lat­ed for the dura­tion a recent PBS arti­cle, 4 Tips For Seniors to Stay Con­nect­ed Dur­ing Coro­n­avirus Out­break, has a few good sug­ges­tions. Briefly they sug­gest 1) Learn the new tech­nol­o­gy. Face­book, Face­Time, Skype, and Zoom are only a few ways to keep in touch while sequestered at home and are fair­ly sim­ple to learn. 2) Stay active with your com­mu­ni­ty. Work a phone bank for your favorite can­di­date or cause. 3) Go on a “News Diet.” Watch a news pro­gram in the morn­ing or evening but don’t get caught up in the 24-hour news cycle.  4) Reach out to fam­i­ly and friends. The Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol rec­om­mends using the “bud­dy sys­tem” to make sure vul­ner­a­ble and hard-to-reach peo­ple stay con­nect­ed, par­tic­u­lar­ly to news about COVID-19. Touch base with your friends and family.

I’d like to add one more sug­ges­tion. In Italy, where it is said they are about 10 days ahead of us with this dis­ease, every­one has been ordered to stay home so they go to their win­dows and sing. Sing out your win­dow or sing in the show­er. Singing lifts the spir­its and is good for the res­pi­ra­to­ry system.

This might be a great time to tack­le projects like orga­niz­ing pho­tographs or fin­ish­ing a quilt and you prob­a­bly have a few books around your house you’ve been mean­ing to read. Online class­es can put your time at home to good use. I’ve enjoyed tak­ing free class­es though Future Learn, I’m tak­ing one right now called Med­i­cine and the Arts from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cape Town in South Africa. It is remark­able what is avail­able online.

Speak­ing of which, here are just a few links to world-class muse­ums now offer­ing vir­tu­al tours. Be well.

Link to: Nation­al Gallery of Art
Link to: The British Muse­um 
Link to: Smith­son­ian Nation­al Muse­um of Nat­ur­al History

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