ruth schenk

by ruth schenk


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Practical Ways To Help Seniors During The Isolation Of COVID-19

It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of COVID-19. It’s the danger of exposure, isolation, social distancing, fear, and uncertainty. It’s easy to hunker down and feel there’s nothing we can do.

That would be wrong.

At times like this, the church—God’s people—shine brightest. They respond in crisis.

The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word “crisis.” One brush stroke stands for danger. We see that everywhere. But the other stands for opportunity. Every crisis holds both. There is opportunity in the midst of danger.

Though we can’t meet for worship, we can still be the church.

According to the CDC, older adults are at highest risk in this pandemic. Nursing homes post “no visitor” signs. Those over 60 are told to stay home, get groceries during designated times if they go out at all, to stock up on medications.

At the same time, they are lonely and afraid.

Threat is real. We’ve never been through this. These days when nothing seems the same provides a chance to reach seniors we do and don’t know, to ease fear, to provide kind contact, to reassure them that they are not alone in the virus-battle.

When one woman in Louisville created a database of seniors who might need help and willing volunteers, she found that what people most wanted was someone to check on them—a friendly voice. They had enough toilet paper and their pantries were stocked. Loneliness trumped need.

This is the time to reach out, one person at a time, and live the Gospel from our homes.

Here are a few ideas to support others as we navigate uncertain days:

  • To connect with neighbors you don’t know by name, write a note introducing yourself to put in their mailbox or door. Explain that you would like to pray for them and help in any way possible during this crisis. Include your contact information. Make a list of those who respond.
  • When you are going to the grocery store or drug store, offer to pick up something they may need. Add a fun item they might enjoy – a flower, ice cream, a balloon, hand lotion, a puzzle book.
  • Think of creative ways to brighten long, lonely days. Two friends delivered daffodils and toilet paper to connect with older neighbors. They loved the flowers and laughed over the toilet paper. Quick porch visits six feet away opened doors to build lasting friendships.
  • Make a list of those near and far away who would appreciate a phone call, text, note or Facetime visit. Technology makes connecting easier than ever before.
  • Include your family in outreach. Everyone loves handmade cards and drawings from children. That’s a win for both age groups.
  • Kids are busy; adults are happy. One 6-year-old made and delivered paint-stick crosses he made and painted for neighbors on his cul-de-sac. They now decorate the front of homes.
  • Share a treat. Since shopping is limited, make a basket or bag of wrapped snacks such as cookies, crackers, tea, a puzzle book or magazine.
  • Offer to do small chores – rake a flower bed, take out trash, fill birdfeeders, walk a dog.
  • Though COVID-19 is serious, depression will not stop it. Laughter is a good antidote for fear. Create a “laughing basket” with jokes or funny sayings written on folded pieces of paper, an envelope of seeds for a fun plant that will bloom, a clown nose and Groucho glasses.
  • Write or color a cheerful message on the sidewalk of a neighbor’s home. This can be fun for adults, children, and those who pass by.
  • Ask a neighbor if they would enjoy a homemade meal. Package it to leave on their porch.

Download full ebook "A Healthcare Worker's Response to COVID-19" here

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