I talked to my mom last week and she told me her yoga studio was closing – permanently. The studio tried to re-open in June. A few short weeks later, Arizona saw a surge in COVID cases. To reduce the spread, fitness centers and yoga studios were required to close again. Like most small businesses, the yoga studio could not handle the stress of paying rent on a space where they could not do business.
The Power of Community
For the past 15 years, my mom has attended classes religiously 1-3 times per week. She formed friendships with other students. The studio owners owners and the teachers all knew her; they became like extended family over the years. My mom’s yoga studio was her community of support. Attending classes fed her soul. She enjoyed the social interaction. The studio made it possible for her to keep her body active and moving in a place where she felt both confident and comfortable.
I am sad for my mom. When she shared the news, I could hear the sadness in her voice, too. While she can find a new studio, it is truly heart breaking for her beloved studio to close abruptly. She has lost her support system and that is not easy to replace.
You see, unlike me, my mom is an extrovert. She thrives on social interaction. Being with a community of people and having places to go and people to see feeds her soul. While I am an introvert and have been pacing myself in getting out and about more, my mom has been patiently awaiting the opportunity to safely get back to the experiences she loves. Quarantine and social distancing have forced her to live an introverted life. While this works well for my dad, it does not fit my mom. In order to thrive, she needs to be able to live a more extroverted life. Social experiences nourish her and enhance her well-being.
Taking Care of Our Seniors During COVID-19
I am writing this blog today because I know there are many more seniors out there just like my mom and dad. Many seniors are now home alone and isolated from their communities of support. They may be feeling lonely, and their mental health may be at risk. I don’t want our seniors to be forgotten or left behind. It’s important that they know and feel how important they are to us. I want to be intentional about reaching out and lifting up the seniors in my life; I am asking for you to do the same.
If you are reading this blog today, please think about the seniors in your life. Maybe a parent, grandparent, relative, or neighbor is feeling alone and doesn’t know how to tell you. Show them you are thinking about them; let them know how much they matter to you. Offer the gift of your time on the phone, over FaceTime, or by dropping off a note or flowers on their doorstep. While COVID may be asking us to physically distance ourselves, we can still join together in community. It will take a little creativity, but I know we can support each other through it.