We are all facing new challenges and a new way of life for the next few weeks and months. I had my 91 year old Dad and 85 year old Mom here for 3 days as they were traveling home from the South to their permanent residence in Maine. I was vigilant as I wanted to protect their health and stay healthy at home in case any of us were asymptomatic. They were not as aware of what they touched, so I was constantly wiping down kitchen knobs, faucet handles, and the counters. And, I work with seniors, so it is important that I protect my own health.
Many of us have had children coming home from college or city apartments and while we know where we have been and what precautions we have been taking, we wonder did they use the Purell after leaving the store, did they touch their elevator button and then wipe their eye, and our minds may wander to places that we have no control over. So, with that said, what do we have control over? They are home and as far as we know and pray, have not been exposed. Here is what I am doing in my own home (just to be clear these are non-scientifically proven and just things I have come up with) to gain a little bit of control in what seems like a world spiraling out of control with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- How many times do you or your kids put down a glass of water and then come back and wonder if that is yours? Avoid the problem by each family member having a certain size/shape glass for the next few weeks. So, the tall glasses from Crate & Barrel are only used by x.
- This, of course, applies to wine glasses as well! Most people have multiple patterns. Or, use those charms that many of you have. If not, think outside the box – pipe cleaners or colored duct tape will do just fine. My husband is having a zoom cocktail party with his golf friends tonight. Guess he doesn’t need to worry about what glass he uses!
- Everyone touching the refrigerator handle? They say that the virus can live on metal for up to 3 days. I have put duck tape on mine so we each have different “grab zones” when opening the refrigerator. Early on, I found myself wiping it down constantly and this puts my mind at ease a little. Whether there is any validity to doing this, I am not sure but it’s worth a try.
- We are fortunate to have lots of bathrooms in our house and guess what? Everyone has their own bathroom – again another way that I feel I can limit possible germ exposure.
- We are practicing other tips we have all heard such as leaving our mail on the porch for the night, wiping down groceries and cardboard boxes.
- Sharing that toothpaste tube? Why? Why not give everyone their own toothpaste.
- I spoke to every single sibling (5 of them) and my parents yesterday. Reach out to friends and family as many are sheltering in place.
- I sent my parents a video of my beach walk showing them the waves and sending a message of love.
- Keep a calendar of outings to the store, a bike ride with a friend or social distancing walk. This will be knowledge that hopefully won’t be needed, but may come in helpful.
- Keep your Saturday night, your Saturday night. Start a fire, do something special because otherwise the weekdays and weekends will start blending together and it gives you something to look forward to. I will always remember my Mom telling me she had “Friday nights on Foster Street” and they were special – and oftentimes she would set up a card table with a white tablecloth and place settings for 2 in front of the fire after putting the kids to bed. In this day and age, I have heard many friends that say Friday night is pizza night. Whatever it is, keep those fun nights.
I personally have kept structure to my day, stayed positive, enjoyed seeing the creativity emerge and have taken the extra time for long walks, writing notes, and reaching out to friends and family. Be safe, stay well, and protect our family and seniors.