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Aging in Place — 30 Years Ahead of Schedule

How I'm Coping as a COVID-19 Shut-In

Credit: Shutterstock
Credit: Shutterstock

How ironic. I’ve been writing for months about why aging doesn’t mean you have to slow down and hunker down.

Now, here I am…being prompted by government and health officials, my family, and colleagues to self-quarantine.

Being homebound is something I thought I wouldn’t have to deal with until I got closer to 100. And yet, here I am in my 600 square foot apartment. On the bright side, I can shop an hour early during “seniors time” at the grocery store.

Two trips were canceled and my plans to visit Italy and/or Paris this year are on hold.

A social being, I’m dealing with the new normal by:

  1. Writing or creating something every day (like this infographic).
  2. Walking outside to get a healthy dose of Vitamin D.
  3. Getting at least eight hours of sleep a night.
  4. Calling (as in telephone) at least three friends, relatives, clients, or colleagues daily. Human connection is essential right now. I am offering to help my clients any way I can.
  5. Signing up for webinars and planning on leading my own. Stay tuned for details.
  6. Teaching myself new tech skills. (This is a great opportunity for those of you who “missed the memo” to learn how to ZOOM, Skype, or simply blog.
  7. Supporting small businesses to the extent that I can.
  8. Mentoring young professionals on how to adjust to WFH (working from home) and facing an economic downturn.
  9. Volunteering at the local Food Bank. I know it’s a little risky, but while some people are stocking up on toilet paper, young kids and the elderly are going hungry.
  10. Rules and health permitting, driving to Tucson to visit my 93-year old mother (who really IS aging in place) and bring her take-out.
  11. Keeping my sense of humor, calm, and perspective.

I’ve never lived through something quite like this before. Most of us haven’t.

But I survived a hurricane, a recession, surgeries, deaths of family members, and other unexpected disruptions to life as I knew it.

I confess, however. This shut-in thing is tough for me.

Working for myself for 16 years, I’m adept at keeping myself motivated and structuring my days.

I worry a little that after a couple of weeks of “aging in place” I’ll be grumpier and more lonely than I am now.

I’m singing that cheesy Maureen McGovern “Morning After” song to myself, surrounding myself (virtually) with upbeat and creative people, and setting little goals for myself related to how I’ll survive this crisis smarter, more connected to others, and grateful that the “practice run” for aging in place is over.

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