Seven Positives From Coronavirus Virus Outbreak For Boomers and Those The CDC Has Told to Stay Home

Since the Coronovirus has reached our shores, it is we Boomers who have most negatives in relation to the outbreak.  We are over the age of 60.  I hate to think that is where “elderly” or “senior citizen” is thought to begin, but as a Boomer we COULD be considered in that category, even though we vehemently deny that.  Many of us do have underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems.  We are high risk for serious complications and possibly death from the Coronavirus.

Because of the contradictory and incomplete information about the spread of the virus, PopPop and I not only decided to self-quarantine, we gave up seeing our grandchildren for their birthdays and cancelled air flights.  Spring break and Passover and Easter are coming sooner than we think, and those of us Boomers who intended to travel to spend the holidays with our children or grandchildren may be spending them alone this year.  And more, those of us who had planned to travel this summer are very aware of the countries now forbidden, including China and Italy, and what may come, with new warnings daily, plans may need to be changed or cancelled.  With the Coronavirus in most countries, and even most states now, most travel must be reconsidered.

Friday, March 7, 2010, Vice President Pence announced, “[i]f you have a family member or are yourself, a senior citizen with a serious underlying health condition, this would be a good time to practice common sense and to avoid activities, including traveling on a cruise line, that might unnecessarily expose one to the coronavirus.”  So many of our friends had cruises planned from spring to summer to fall that are now reconsidering cruising, not only in the near future but forever.

Sunday, March 8, 2020, Dr. Anthony Stephen “Tony” Fauci, an American immunologist who has made substantial contributions to HIV/AIDS research and other immunodeficiencies, both as a scientist and the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “If you get infected, the risk of getting into trouble is considerable, so it’s our responsibility to protect the vulnerable,” “When I say ‘protect,’ I mean right now, not wait until things get worse. Say ‘no large crowds, no long trips, and above all, don’t get on a cruise ship,'” he continued.  Sunday, March 8, 2020, the New York Times, page 8 included the CDC recommendation that older adults, now above age 50, in addition to those with underlying health problems, should avoid any setting that makes them more vulnerable to disease, including avoiding crowded places and avoiding nonessential travel such as long plane trips.  We Boomers  have children that age, or close to it.

March 8, 2020, the CDC announced that elderly and people with chronic health conditions should “stay at home as much as possible.” But, the bottom line seem to be that our lives are on hold, and we Boomers must be very careful going forward.

However, we Americans have short memories and when the Coronavirus is a thing of the past, which we all hope it will be, we Boomers will most likely be on our way again.

This Grandma, while planning for the worst, is still the Pollyanna*.  Yesterday, it was cruising that took the hit. Today, going out or non essential travel or on an airplane unnecessarily. From those of us who have been self quarantined for a week or more already, we have some positives for you who are now going to stay home for the first time due to the spread of the Coronavirus:

SOCIAL CONTACT

You may be confused about social contact as the number one positive I include when we have been self-quarantined for a while.  However, PopPop and I started getting texts from friends and family near and far, with most of them self-quarantined or wishing they could.  This Saturday night, we spoke with at least five sets of friends or family on speaker phone or FaceTime enjoying our individual time together.  We knew we would all be home so could connect easily!  This was more social contact than we would have if we went to a restaurant with a couple for dinner on a Saturday night.  Everyone is stuck in and reaching out is done more often.  How do I know social contact is most important? Reaching out includes sharing Podcasts and Ted Talks, and a friend sent a Ted Talk by Susan Pinker, from 2017, (YES!) called “The secret to living longer may be your social life.”  I am now passing it along to you all to find out, that ‘[b]uilding in-person interaction into our cities, into our workplaces, into our agendas bolsters the immune system, sends feel-good hormones surging through the bloodstream and brain and helps us live longer. I call this building your village, and building it and sustaining it is a matter of life and death.”  Enjoy the talk or the transcript at this link:

SAVING LOTS OF MONEY

Yes, the stock market has tanked amidst the uncertainty surrounding us right now and, as many of us are retirees, we may not live long enough to have our nest eggs recover!  However, we are not traveling far or near.  We are not going out.  We are not going to conventions, or conferences, or meetings, or luncheons.  Think of all the money we are saving!

EATING HOME AND EATING HEALTHIER

This Grandma makes reservations!  Being self-quarantined means eating home and eating healthier.

We know that eating a Mediterranean diet is important to longevity. The hardest thing for me was pulling out recipes before I went food shopping to stock up for well-balanced meal preparation.  I even made a list of everything in the freezer to put on our notes for reference.  We are eating healthier than before!  And again, saving money.

INTIMACY

When I lectured on marriage and divorce, I always mentioned that it is most important to nurture intimacy in a relationship.  Lack of intimacy or loss of intimacy breaks down the relationship.  We are always busy in our lives, even more so in retirement.  We could do what I say is important to intimacy, quarterly respites of at least twenty-four hours to rekindle intimacy.  Yes, this “respite” is much longer than that, but we have the opportunity to reconnect with and recommit to our intimate partner when we are self-quarantined.  See next.

CATCHING UP ON MOVIES AND SERIES WE HAVE NOT WATCHED

We are watching movies on Amazon or NetFlix, and catching up on series we wanted to explore but had more important tasks or things to do.  We finally saw “Parasite” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”  Yes, we now have lots to talk about and compare when we communicate with friends who are also self-quarantined.  We share and discuss book and movie recommendations galore.  It seems each movie is three hours long.  Easier for us Boomers to take a break when at home!

EXERCISING MORE . . .MAYBE

Yes, those of us self-quarantined have more time on our hands.  Dr. Paul Sax, medical director of the division of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston is quoted as saying, “The gym is not a place that’s necessarily riskier than other communal areas,” Sax says. “I wouldn’t say there’s anything particular about people sweating that makes them more contagious.”  I intend to wear gloves when I go to our gym, which is mostly empty and use Lysol wipes everywhere.  Notice that I say that I intend to.  So far, I have gone to very small yoga classes where I can stay six feet from another, and exercised at home.  I guess I should have said, I have “more time to exercise.”

However, the better recommendation is to seek the sun, walk outside, be in the fresh air.  Yes, staying home does not mean staying in, just six feet from another person.  One can find a way to walk and enjoy the sunshine and avoid unnecessary contact.  Fortunately for PopPop and me, the walking along the ocean on one of the most beautiful roads in America is part of our routine.  We realized that we had not taken advantage of this stretch for a long time.  We can make up for what we have forgotten is important to us.

COMMITMENTS THAT WE ARE NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO

So much of the time, we go to events and have commitments that are just commitments we must do.  Having to be home means, joyfully sometimes, saying we cannot attend an event.

I hope that when our grandchildren read this blog post, the Coronavirus will be of such little historical significance that they will not understand the need for this post.  We hope that all of us Boomers are safe and sound, our living parents, and those younger than us, even to our children at age fifty who are also at risk.

We Boomers can give them this sage advice from Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor of Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard University:

“Be careful where you get your news about coronavirus.” He recommends “when considering a new infectious disease about which so much is still unknown, it’s important to seek out reliable information and act on it. Be skeptical of implausible conspiracy theories or claims of “fake news” that dismiss recommendations from public health officials. Addressing the concerns surrounding 2019-nCoV requires accessible, reliable, and frequently updated information; the best we can do is to look to the experts whose mission it is to protect public health.”

We hope we will soon have “accessible, reliable, and frequently updated information” and are able to hear directly from the best “experts whose mission it is to protect public health.”

Until then, we stay home and visit with our grandchildren on FaceTime.

However, again, we Americans have short memories and when the Coronavirus is a thing of the past, which we all hope it will be when our grandchildren read this, and see that we Boomers were on our way again.

 

 

Joy,

 

Mema

 

*For my grandchildren, a pollyanna is “an excessively cheerful or optimistic person,” which comes from a 1913 novel, ”Pollyanna,” by American author Eleanor H. Porter, and was made into a movie in 1960.  You can see the trailer on YouTube.

 

 

 

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