Ron Tatro, Director, Michigan Elder Justice Coordinating Council at Elder Law of Michigan

We have recently moved through a holiday season like no other in recent memory. As with many families, we met our loved ones over Zoom. While we missed seeing everyone in person, there was an upside to this. We got to see and speak with relatives from around the country that we would not normally see. Through this process it got me thinking about the isolation we are all enduring as the pandemic sweeps our country and up-roots our lives. For me, there have been some notable points.

  • Most humans are social beings who need social contact. Recently I met with a friend whom I had not seen since last fall. We met in his driveway and spent about 30 minutes visiting. It felt good. Try to find someone to talk with either in person or some other means.
  • Are you finding that you are talking more to yourself? Professionals advise that speaking to yourself is our way of coping with situations we cannot always control. It is a stress reliever so go for it. Plus, you will always agree with the speaker.
  • Over the course of our lifetime, we have had many diverse types of relationships. Some have been business, personal, or even romantic. Is there anyone whom you have thought about and are wondering how they are doing? Now may be the time to reconnect with them.
  • Has the isolation created some additional challenges? Do you find yourself moving less, eating more, and being bored? Find a new hobby or revisit an old hobby to challenge your mind and or body to be more engaged. A common thread for seniors who live into their 80s and 90s is that they stay engaged both mentally and physically.
  • Use technology. Technology can be challenging, but also beneficial. Today there is an ample supply of products such as smart speakers, streaming platforms, tablets, digital photo frames, etc. that can help you stay connected.  A friend or teenage neighbor may be able to help you figure what would work best for you to get online.

Hopefully, by spring or summer, we will be able to move forward. Those who want a vaccine shot will have received it. Warm weather will make us all feel better and fuel the desire to get active. In the meantime, please remember to wear face masks, social distance, and wash your hands. We will get through this together. Stay safe and healthy.

Ron Tatro joined Elder Law of Michigan in 2007 as the Director of Consumer Fraud and Elder Abuse Prevention Services. He is currently the Director of the Michigan Elder Justice Coordinating Council providing services to community based elder abuse prevention projects throughout Michigan.