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BEACON Senior News

Boomers: Show younger generations we won’t let COVID dictate who we are

Aug 04, 2020 11:08AM ● By Melanie Wiseman

When I began writing this column almost two years ago, I committed myself to keeping it light while talking about the changes and challenges we face during Boomerhood. After all, taking life too seriously is no fun at all. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves and our new circumstances—hair growing where it didn’t before, and the like.

Then COVID hit with a vengeance. Again, I committed to distance my column from this heavy topic. But I’ve come to realize that’s nearly impossible, as every aspect of our lives is affected by the pandemic: some good, some difficult and some downright tragic.

We Boomers have been given a huge opportunity to be role models and make a difference during this difficult time. We are the “sandwich generation”—the cohort between our elderly parents whose best line of defense keeps them isolated, and our children, who are juggling job changes and their own children, trying desperately to keep their households afloat.

As Boomers, we are most likely retired, and have the time and wisdom to help keep our families and friendships bonded even with social distancing. As restrictions allow, we give our children a break by taking grandchildren on outings and help neighbors in need with grocery shopping or home repairs. We have the time to make phone calls and send cards with well wishes to loved ones.

Every couple of weeks I send my 94-year-old father a new book from Amazon, which he loves. My husband Dan and I just returned from a four-day camping trip where we created great memories with our grandson. We check on our neighbors regularly.

Being a role model doesn’t require grand gestures or expense. In fact, it’s usually the small things that matter most, like telling someone, “I’m thinking about you. I’m there for you. I’m here to listen.” Let’s set an example for younger generations that we’re not going to let COVID dictate who we are.

Emotions can run the gamut in these stressful and uncertain times. Boomers can be the rocks who look outward instead of inward, and help others maneuver through the challenges.

It’s tough out there, so be extra kind to one another. If you’re at a safe distance, pull down your mask and let people see your smile. I’ve found it to be the greatest gift of all.