Island Senior: Coping With Coronavirus

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

Posted on March 16, 2020 at 5:45 am by

Categories: Community, Health & Wellness, Island Senior
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