Time to share, time to care, time to act
By Eileen Doherty
Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society
Safe at Home orders in which adults age 60 and over were instructed to stay at home have been particularly difficult in this period of COVID-19.
Staying at home has been even more difficult for individuals in senior living facilities. Many people who live in their own homes or an apartment have found similar hardships.
Families and friends have been separated from loved ones. The human touch has been missing.
While COVID-19 is a time for panic, fear and extreme caution, it is also a time for opportunity. The theme for my high school yearbook in 1971 was “A Time To . . . “. With our eyes on college, new experiences on the horizon, new friends, and all our 18-year old optimism, my small high school class of 27 from a small town in Western Kansas set out to conquer the world.
Time was ours! Time was our friend! Time gave us the opportunity to live and experience the world!
Time is still our friend. Time helps us to remember the good, the times we were successful, the times we were proud of ourselves and those around us. Time helps us think about the future and reframe our lives.
Now, almost 50 years later, COVID-19 has given us time. This time maybe, just maybe, it is a time-out. Social distancing has given us a time to care, time to share, and time to act.
The time is now to make a list of who is important, who we want to visit, and who we want to care about. Now is the time to call a friend that we haven’t received a holiday greeting card from for years or that cousin whom we were fond of at family gatherings.
Now is the time to find activities that we can do when we are working hard to stay at home. Time to listen to our favorite songs, which are only a click away on our computer or smart phone. Time to sew, garden, or read. Learn to find pleasure in “being alone”. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely.
Time to find a new cause. Or spend more time on the causes in which we are involved. Work can often be done from the privacy of our home.
The Colorado Gerontological Society has launched a Telephone Buddy program. A Telephone Buddy is a volunteer who calls an older adult to check on them, share stories, and make sure their needs are being met. Telephone Buddies share time and bring a sense of purpose.
A Telephone Buddy provides a human touch point. In this time of social distancing, a Telephone Buddy is the friendly voice of a live person with whom you can feel a connection. Sign up to be a Telephone Buddy at https://forms.gle/cmUcieUe2UGZWuGt6. If you want a Telephone Buddy to call you, call 303-333-3482, 1-855-293-6911 or 1-855-880-4777 (Spanish).
Eileen Doherty, MS is the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society. Her areas of expertise include management and administration of nonprofit organizations, education and training on issues related to older adults, advocacy and policy development on senior issues, and clinical practice in working with seniors and families to manage their lives in the later years. She has been the director of the society since 1982. She teaches Nonprofit Management for Fort Hays State University.