Mar 20, 2020
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.”
These opening lines from Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities” feel like they were written for today. The past couple of weeks have been challenging and things are likely to become more so. But, amidst all of the uncertainty, confusion and fear, I have seen people rise to the occasion.
In the past week, I have seen social media groups created specifically to reach out and help people in our community. For example, the Facebook group “North Shore Neighbors: Covid-19 edition” describes itself as “a place where at-risk individuals on the North Shore of Massachusetts (elderly, immunocompromised, etc.) can share a specific need (medication pick-up, baby formula, etc.) and anyone who is willing and able to help can respond to that need. It is also a place where existing groups that help at-risk individuals can make requests for volunteers.”
This is not an isolated group.
A twisted sense of humor has risen to give us a smile in the midst of our stress. I particularly like a cartoon showing a man wearing a pet cone around his face and the dog telling him to relax and accept that it is for the man’s own good. Is it wrong to make a joke about something so serious? We could debate that, but I think that a smile is a smile and is good for us in that moment. Laughing at adversity does not mean that we aren’t taking the situation seriously.
SeniorCare’s RSVP Volunteers of the North Shore has had an abundance of calls from prospective volunteers, and is actively interviewing new volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the RSVP program at 978-281-1750 or check out the website at www.seniorcareinc.org/volunteer-rsvp. Volunteer Meals on Wheels drivers are urgently needed at this time.
If a person doesn’t have the freedom in their schedule to be an “official” volunteer, what can they do?
If you haven’t already done so, introduce yourself to your neighbors—especially elders or otherwise at-risk neighbors. Swap phone numbers. Ask them if they are feeling well. When you need to go to the grocery store or pharmacy, call and ask if they would like you to pick up something for them. Offer to do yardwork as the spring commences. Wave to each other from across the yard. If you have the technology, use facetime to talk with people that you can’t see in person.
Of course, as you reach out from a distance, remember to keep yourself and those around you safe. If you start feeling symptoms, call your doctor.
Information about Corona/Covid-19 is being updated every day and there is a lot of misinformation out there. For the most up to date information on Corona/Covid-19, visit the U.S. Center for Disease Control website www.coronavirus.gov or the official Massachusetts information page at www.mass.gov. If you see information on social media, do not believe it without checking it first with a reputable information source. Massachusetts residents who do not have a computer or the internet can call 211 for information and resources.
Remember that kindness, patience, love, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude are also highly contagious. Don’t wait to catch them—be the carrier!