The coronavirus pandemic and the need to self-quarantine oneself to prevent being affected by it has led many people to panic-buy essential supplies. This has resulted in countless grocery stores all over the world running out of stock. As people are thronging the supermarkets and hoarding up on all kinds of items, essential products are running dry from grocery store shelves. This is causing especially serious problems for the elderly, who are the most susceptible to the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from the novel coronavirus. Now, because of this panic shopping, at-risk groups including seniors, have faced great difficulty in getting their daily supplies.
That being said, there are also many heartwarming and uplifting stories about the kindness of people who have extended a helping hand for the elderly in these times of crisis. Here is a look at several such stories.
Image credit: Helena Ellis
As senior citizens grapple with anxiety about the coronavirus, several photos have surfaced over the last few weeks of seniors standing in long queues at supermarkets and struggling to get hold of essential supplies.
There are, however, certain uplifting examples that serve as an inspiration to all of us. Recently, Helena Ellis of Sydney put up a Facebook post about how she helped an elderly man standing "with an empty trolley staring at empty shelves of bread." To help the man out, Helena gave him one of the last two hot dog bun packs she had bought. She also implored other people to specifically lookout and offer help to the senior citizens in these times.
"In a time of complete and utter madness and chaos, please don't forget to look out for each other and look out for those who need it most," Ellis wrote. "Don't be consumed by greed."
Image credit: maggieconnolly1
New York has been badly hit by the novel coronavirus outbreak, and in these times, the elderly would be especially vulnerable to move out of their homes. Some kind souls are coming forward to help. Liam Elkind, a junior at Yale University, and his friend, Simone Policano, have enlisted over 1,300 volunteers to help the seniors get food and medicine delivered to them in New York City.
The youngsters have named themselves Invisible Hands, and they intend to provide human comfort to the elderly in these dire times. People can place grocery and pharmacy orders on their website. The youngsters ensure that the bags of goods are left at people’s doors and money is exchanged from a safe distance. Moreover, they wear gloves while shopping and also wipe down the bags they deliver. Word about the website is spreading rapidly through the city and more and more seniors and thanking Invisible Hands for their initiative.
“This is one of those times when I remember that New York is such a small town, and people are willing to look out for one another and have each other's back,” Elkind was quoted as saying to the Associated Press.
The fear of the coronavirus pandemic is so severe in some parts that seniors are scared of even entering a crowded supermarket. Rebecca Mehra, a 25-year-old professional runner in the US, recently helped a woman and her husband in their 80s, who were fearful of stepping foot inside a store. Rebecca was out for her track practice when the elderly woman called her from her car.
"She told me she had been sitting in the car for nearly 45 minutes before I had arrived, waiting to ask the right person for help," Mehra tweeted. Apparently, there has been a coronavirus case in that area and the senior woman had heard that the virus impacts older people more. The old couple didn’t have any family members nearby that could help them shop and were waiting for about 45 minutes outside the grocery store to ask someone’s help.
Mehra eventually bought most of the items that the elderly couple needed and placed them in the trunk of their car. "In a weird way, this is kind of bringing us all together because it’s been so scary for everyone. I think emphasizing kindness and community and helping each other out is really important,” she was later quoted as saying to USA Today.
Image credit: Kxan News
Therapy dogs are known to provide comfort and support to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, and other places. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, many nursing homes have canceled all visitors in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. One of them is the Cedar Pointe Health and Wellness Suites in Cedar Pointe, Texas. This meant that the patients inside couldn’t meet with their family and friends. This is when Courtney Leigh used a great idea. She decided to bring along her Great Dane therapy dog, Tonka, to visit the nursing home. However, to ensure the safety of the visitors, she made the dog interact with them from outside the nursing home's windows.
Courtney really wanted to help brighten the mood of the elderly by staying at the nursing home in these dire times and felt that Tonka’s feel-good vibes will certainly help them smile. The move has worked, as even though the seniors can’t touch the dog, getting to feel his positivity from outside the windows is bringing them some much-needed joy. Leigh intends to bring Tonka to the facility to walk outside as much as she can while they aren’t accepting visits.
The spread of the coronavirus has made things difficult for many seniors, as they are unable to cope with the long queues at the supermarket where people keep flocking to stock up on supplies. Moreover, they also need to avoid large crowds as well for their own safety. Fortunately, many stores are now offering senior-only shopping hours to help the elderly. Many reputed supermarket chains across the US like Publix, Dollar General, Harveys Supermarket, Target, and even Walmart have exclusively designed special hours, mostly in the early morning, every day of the week for shoppers 60 and older.
This move will certainly provide some comfort to the seniors who need essential supplies. Hopefully, more supermarkets across the world will follow suit.