You worry about your children during the COVID-19 pandemic, but many of us are equally concerned about our elders, who are at much higher risk of death if they become infected.
There may be only so much you can do—people young and old often discount the threat until it’s too late. The New York Times offers some guidance to adult children worried about their older loved ones:
- Manage your own anxiety first. Don’t get angry with mom or dad when they shrug off the dangers. Be direct and calm, and provide clear reasoning and context for your worries.
- Explain your position. If your loved ones live far away, you might say, “If you get sick, I won’t be able to come and see you. If you die, you’ll be all alone.” This may help them see that the consequences aren’t just about them.
- Accept. You may not be able to change their minds. Express your feelings and fears rationally, but don’t try to force anything or you may push them away. Remember that they’re adults too, and let them make their own decisions even though you may disagree.
Angelo Sambunaris, M.D.