Dear Grandma, read this before you visit the little ones
Updated 11:33 AM ET, Fri May 15, 2020
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We know you're itching to see your grandkids after spending the last few weeks in isolation. But a visit with family may not be the safest idea at the moment.
Staying home is the best way to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But if your heart is set on a playdate, there are ways to make your visit safer.
Please remember, though, that there's risk involved with seeing your grandchildren even if you can resist giving them a hug.
1. Please consider the risk
We talked to Dr. Samir Sinha. He's the director of Geriatrics for the Sinai Health System and the University Health Network in Toronto. And this is what he says:
Until there's a vaccine, the most vulnerable people should continue to stay home if they can. That includes grandparents over 60 like you and people with chronic illnesses.
You see, people in those categories are more likely to become severely ill if they contract coronavirus. We don't want that to be you.
"I think the pandemic has been really hard for everybody, but social isolation is a particular issue for older adults," he says. "One of the greatest joys for older people is seeing younger people in their lives and having intergenerational connections."
It's a tricky balance, we know.
On one hand, meaningful connections are hugely important -- they can enrich and even prolong your life. But seeing a loved one means you'll interact with people you haven't seen in weeks who've spent their isolation in a different environment than you. You have to decide whether that risk is worth it to you.
2. Let's talk about it
Maybe you think we, your loving family members, have banned you from visiting.
"There is this tension between families where older people feel their families are being overprotective of them or infringing on their rights," Sinha says.
It doesn't have to be a stalemate. Let's talk it out.
"It should be a shared choice," Sinha says. "That person hears why their loved one actually wants to protect them, and this prompts a conversation and helps the person understand, 'While I'm worried about you getting Covid-19, I appreciate that you