Community in a Time of Social Distancing

Community in a Time of Social Distancing

Mar 13, 2020

Caregiving & Aging

Humans are social creatures. We’re used to being around others. We play team sports, have meetings with colleagues at work, and spend time with family members and friends. To maintain our households, we go to stores that are humming with other shoppers. On buses and trains we share close spaces with people we don’t even know. Human connection is evident all around us.

Now we find ourselves in a time of “social distancing.” We’re asked to limit our close contact with others in the interest of the health of the whole community. We want to be helpful, do what’s right, and protect the well-being of those who are most vulnerable. And yet this notion of separateness doesn’t come naturally to most of us. It’s a strange feeling, isn’t it, when staying apart is not our own choice?

Perhaps many of us are getting a glimpse of what life is like for some people all the time – older adults who live alone with limited social contact, people whose paychecks don’t ensure enough food and toilet paper in the house at the end of the month, caregivers who yearn for another person to share their daily responsibilities of care for another, people with chronic illnesses who always have health precautions on their minds.

If we pay attention while we’re experiencing these new feelings, our human empathy can grow. Now is a grand opportunity for us to practice how to be community for each other all the time, even when this public health event subsides. What ideas do you have for connecting with others in this time of distancing? Here are a few to start with:

  • Check in with your circle of friends. You’d reach out to each other if you had a particular need, of course, but consider a simple “hello, I’m thinking about you.”
  • Wave at your neighbors. Offer to run errands for someone who isn’t able to be out and about right now.
  • Along with the many social media apps at your fingertips, use the telephone for speech communication. Share your human voice with someone who may be isolated or anxious.

And when the time comes that we’re feeling less restricted, what a joy it will be if our sense of community has strengthened, too!

During this time, FamilyMeans Caregiving & Aging continues to provide caregiver coaching & consultation sessions over the phone. These session help support caregivers as they navigate the challenges that come with providing care to a family member or friend. Contact our Caregiving & Aging staff at 651-439-4840 for more information.