Pairing Up Seniors as Pandemic Buddies

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Covid-19 has forced some people to find companionship outside of their family circle. I am one of those options. As a person that works in the service industry — including with senior citizens — I get to know people's stories. I hear what makes them tick, as well as their fears. Most of all, some of these folks have become part of my family.

When North Carolina, where I live, told the state to stay put, I became concerned. Some of my older clients don't get a lot of interaction with other people, not even their own families. Many seniors I know leave their homes just once a month, to run their errands. My biggest fear was of them not reaching out when they really needed help. It was up to me to lend a hand to those who couldn't fend for themselves. 

The first week, I called to check in on a few. They were doing well. They found that watching favorite TV shows and eating soup was the highlight of their days. As the weeks passed, I noticed some didn't want to hang up the phone. “One Hundred Questions” became our new game. But while I couldn't be their 24-hour hotline, many didn't have families nearby, so I had to find a solution. I decided to help them find a pandemic buddy. It was a small task that I was determined to get done.

Pairing each person up with another who had similar interests was a must. Most of them love to knit and watch TV game shows. Once I knew that, I made my move. Asking was the hard part. I didn't want any of them to think that I didn't like them, or hurt their feelings. But I had to work. Surprisingly, they agreed to an email introduction. The hard part was writing the letter.

Once the emails went out, all it took to get them started was talking and sharing stories about their grandchildren and shows they like the most. Some also learned how to video platforms for the first time. (That shocked me, mainly because one of them hates everything about computers.) I was happy when I heard they were having Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune parties through Zoom. It made my day.

Now they call me to check in, like one big happy family.

Tags: Friends, Grandparents, Navigating the Pandemic, Overcoming Adversity

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Written By

Yesenia Hernandez

Yesenia's began writing seriously in college while she was studying archeology and working as a hairstylist. Later, she wr... See Full Bio

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