Views from the Valley » Susan BOLAN

Caring For Our Seniors in 2020


It seems whether you are 18 and a high school senior or 81 and a senior citizen, 2020 hasn’t exactly been the best year for you. It didn’t take long for the great vision we all shared at the beginning of the year to first blur then fade away. One thing is clear: pandemics are not kind to anyone.

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has targeted the most vulnerable population, our grandparents and those with special medical conditions. Sadly, it has claimed the lives of too many of our seniors and isolated others completely. Most active seniors I know regularly spend time with their children and grandchildren, often traveling to see a school play or celebrate a birthday.  However, for their own protection, these folks have had to self-quarantine and stay away from everyone they care about, some left completely alone at home. Many are coping the best they can by finding projects to work on but the lack of social contact is taking its toll. Feelings of hopelessness and depression are a real concern and their families miss them dearly. Those who are engaged online might be faring a little better but we are all looking forward to the day when we can come together again and embrace. Those who are in senior living facilities can no longer have visitors and may not understand why no one is coming to see them. Day after day, they wait. Once the families are able to visit these loved ones, they must do so through a window with no physical contact, which is heartbreaking.

Conversely, while the coronavirus doesn’t seem to affect the health of most young people, many high school students have been greatly impacted by the pandemic. Students were mandated to stay home out of an abundance of caution as schools were closed and all extracurricular activities ceased. Competitions, award ceremonies, concerts, proms and all graduation activities were canceled in the blink of an eye and “distance learning” became the new norm. Seniors, like my daughter Delaney, who looked forward to their final school year since elementary school, weren’t allowed any closure. No signing yearbooks. No last lunches with friends. No hugs and saying goodbye and good luck. On top of everything else, and like many others, Delaney was laid off her job as a gymnastics coach. All classes were canceled and the sports facility was closed. Everything changed so quickly. Even with social media, students are losing patience because they can’t just hang out with their friends every day.

Even though our senior students have lost so much, there are some great things being done in our community to help them. Staff and teachers at Crescenta Valley High School created what’s called a flipgrid. They recorded videos, messages of pride and love for our graduating class and put them together in a compilation. It was so special and touching. Another activity to look for is the Facebook group, “Adopt A CVHS High School Senior Class 2020,” created by a CV alumna to help our students feel special during this stressful time. Members of the community can join the group and choose a senior to “adopt.” Once chosen, the donor connects with the family and gives small gifts to let them know they care. I think this national movement is a great idea. Check out the page with the CV Falcon logo.

It is important to let elder seniors know that the community has not forgotten them, either.  Be sure to check on your neighbors to see if they need anything or have a chat across the fence.  Sending a card or making a phone call will go a long way to brightening someone’s day. It will make you feel better, too. Together we will get through this mess.

I wish everyone a healthy and happy Mother’s Day. Namaste.

Susan Bolan