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A Guide to Applying Social Distancing for Elderly Relatives

Posted by April Grunden | Jun 25, 2020

With COVID-19 continuing as a threat to all of us, social distancing is pivotal in containing the spread of the virus. However, distancing is easier said than done for a lot of us.

It can be challenging.

It's even more challenging for those of us who are responsible for making sure others are staying isolated, such as our children and our elderly parents. Trying to convince someone who is comfortable in their freedom to stay home as much as possible can be difficult.

If your parents have reached their retirement years and they are still independent, you may find yourself being the parent of the relationship. Don't be surprised if you catch yourself sounding like your parents did when you were younger: lecturing about where they can and can't go and how long they are allowed to be there. And they may push back and tell you that you're overreacting, that they are adults and that they know how to take care of themselves. (Make sure to let yourself laugh at the irony.)

The most important and possibly most challenging aspect of getting your loved ones at risk to practice social distancing is showing them the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fact is that no matter what their current physical health is like, people ages 65 and older are more susceptible to the virus.

One way to do this is to share stories of healthy individuals who have contracted the virus and become seriously ill. Show them that people of all ages, with or without underlying health conditions, are battling severe symptoms that could be fatal.

It's nerve-wracking when you fear for the lives of those you love, and you can't seem to get them to comprehend that this is a very legitimate fear. While you're stockpiling sanitizers, they still may be going to their favorite restaurants and making plans for their next vacation (flights at rock bottom prices!). However, as much as you want to urge them over the phone to JUST STAY HOME, that method probably isn't going to be very effective.

So, how should you approach it?

Try taking a gentler approach to get them to stay home.

  • Encourage them to take up or get back into a hobby they might enjoy, like knitting or puzzles.
  • Inspire them to work on at-home projects, like gardening or woodworking.
  • Start a family book club or have family movie nights; get everyone on a call or video chat to partake together or to discuss it afterwards.
  • Have your kids call them and ask them questions about their own childhood and the differences and similarities they may have.
  • If they're decent with technology, send them links to websites or mobile apps that they can use to play games with you or your kids.
  • Even telling them to shop online and to use curbside pickup/delivery can be beneficial.

Overall, try your best to make it easier for them to stay at home instead of trying to convince them to. There is always something to find joy in around the house, but sometimes we just need that spark of an idea. Don't be afraid to be that for them!

Regardless of the effort involved, if that's what it takes to protect your loved ones from this horrible virus, it's worth it.

We know times are scary, and we are here to help.

If you have questions about the safety measures we are taking here at Grunden Law Office, give us a call or visit our website.


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About the Author

April Grunden

I am the anti-attorney.  I buck the system at every turn because I believe the system is broken.  I have seen the old way of dictating to families and business owners how their plans should work.  I've seen how attorneys run roughshod over clients. Enough is enough. I want to protect my family. ...

We’re Different and Different Is Good.

At GLO we’re reviving the lost art of listening. It’s your planning, not ours. You tell us how you want to take care of your family and business. We will listen and put everything in place.
— April Grunden

Grunden Law Office, LLC
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Fort Wayne, IN 46825
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