Losing Connections with Older Relatives and with Their Life Knowledge

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Losing Connections with Older Relatives and with Their Life Knowledge

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I am an individual over 60, which means that my aunts, uncles, and cousins are also over 60, and several are in their 80s and 90s. Luckily I haven’t been separated from family members younger than me, but because of the health and safety concerns for older individuals, I haven’t been able to meet with these older family members during the pandemic. I’ve found that my older family members don’t enjoy connecting through technology, as they know that doing so, although better than not connecting at all, is a poor substitute for face-to-face connections. Trying to communicate over Zoom results in frustration and dissatisfaction for people who are used to another way of communicating, a way where body language, touch, and energy are important components of the conversation. So the level of connection with these individuals has declined greatly during the pandemic, as we haven’t been able to meet in person and our technology-driven connections have been unsatisfactory or infrequent. The lack of connection is particularly sad as this demographic is more likely to fall ill with the virus or suffer another illness, or even death, and I may not have another chance to see them. I’ve lost an uncle to the virus this past year already. I’ve gone without seeing friends this past year, but I fully expect to be able to see them again in the future; with my older family members, this connection in the future is far less certain. The lack of connection is also sad because these individuals have lived long lives and encountered hardships, including diseases and public health scares, and their advice and history would be sources of comfort and knowledge for these times.

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This item was submitted on June 20, 2021 by Sharon E. Hunt using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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