By Mershon Niesner
I know one of the ways to overcome mild depression is by reaching out to others. I have done this in the past by tutoring at Tommie Barfield School, singing in the choir, and visiting folks in nursing homes.
Now that these opportunities are temporarily unavailable to me due to COVID-19, I’m wondering what I can do from home to reach out to others. I’m 80 and have a pre-existing condition so I need to stay isolated as much as possible.
Dear Grandma T,
It’s terrific that you recognize the mental health benefits of doing for others and that you are willing to adapt to this new environment in order to make a difference.
Yes, there are many ways you can help others from your recliner or desk at home. Here are a few ideas:
#1) Since you can no longer visit folks in long term care facilities, what if you had a pen pal in a residence you visited in the past? Call the facility’s office and ask if this is possible.
Calling regularly is also an option but if the person has a hearing impairment, talking on the phone might be difficult if not impossible. However, everyone loves mail. Send personal notes and cards to those who are shut-ins and lonely.
#2) There are many charities that distribute homemade hats, blankets, scarves, and other items to persons in need. If you knit or crochet, Google “10 charities that need homemade items” to find a source for your handiwork. Picturing a newborn with your handmade hat on her tiny head will bring a smile to your face.
#3) Consider buying gift cards from locally–owned restaurants. Send these cards to healthcare workers on the front lines who find it difficult to return home to cook after a long day of working with COVID patients.
This will help the restaurant and healthcare workers. Call your local hospital for details. If you’d rather not buy the cards in person, have the restaurant mail them to you.
#4) School children are having a rough time right now. I’m sure you miss seeing them in person and they miss seeing you.
You’re probably already communicating with your grandchildren but also ask your friends if they have children or grandchildren who would like to be a pen pal with you. If not a pen pal, most kids love to receive a “You-Got-This!” card in the mail from time to time. I know my “virtual learning only” grands in Illinois do!
I hope at least one of these ideas will resonate with you and enable you to get back to your happy, helpful self.
Mershon Niesner is a Certified Life Coach and author of “Mom’s Gone, Now What? Ten Steps to Help Daughters Move Forward After Mother Loss” which is available on Amazon and at Sunshine Booksellers. For more information visit www.mershonniesner.com. Email your coaching questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your identity will be kept confidential.