Home, not Alone


‘When, in the midst of our life’s journey, I went astray from the straight road and woke to find myself alone in a dark wood….” So begins Dante’s poem, The Inferno. In the story, Dante journeys through a chaotic landscape of cliffs, rivers and canyons. He is not quite alone; Virgil stays with him to guide along and lift his spirits. At long last there is an end, another side of the dark time, and they emerge, “When once again, we saw the stars.”

The “dark wood” of this coronavirus pandemic is especially difficult for Oregon’s older adults. They are among the most vulnerable to getting sick with COVID-19. Some of us are already lonely and isolated. Some are faced with the ageism baked into American culture.

But, we also have experience and perspective: there will be another side. We know that as communities, we will get through this dark wood.

AGE+ offers the ideas below for coping during this pandemic. They are gleaned from counselors, teachers, health workers and other adults. We share these strategies with deep respect for differences in individual personality and circumstances.

Don’t try to do all of these! Pick and choose the strategies that fit your personality, abilities and aptitudes.

Click each of the sections below for information that may help you cope during this uncertain time.

1. Name that Feeling

In a crisis, we all respond differently and our responses may change with time. There’s no right or wrong response to a pandemic. Here are some ideas.

2. Establish your "Battle Rhythm"

The coming days will be an especially difficult challenge for older adults. Establish a routine that works for you. Here are some suggestions.

3. Make Screen Time Rewarding

Consider taking control of your relationship with screens. What you do and how long you do it makes a difference. Here are some resources.

4. Stop, Drop it, Exercise!

Exercise positively benefits our minds and bodies, and can make us stronger for the trying times ahead. Here are some suggestions.

5. Hello Out There

Whether  simply picking up the phone or trying a new way of staying connected to people, the important thing is to actually do it. Here are some suggestions. 

6. Plan Now for the Worst

Every day brings its sad news. One way to gain a sense of control in turbulent days is to prepare now for what might happen. Here are some suggestions.

7. Be Surprised by Joy

Feeling joy doesn’t make you insensitive to what is going on. May joy catch you up today. May it come when you need it most. Click through for more.

8. Give Yourself Moments of Privacy

Alone time may feel impossible. But even small moments of privacy can help. Here are some ideas.

9. Find Your Words

The more we are aware of our feelings, the better we will be in taking care of ourselves and others. Here are some ways to do this.

10. Use a Trauma-Informed Lens

If you or someone you care for lives with the consequences trauma, coping is hard. Here is some more information for you.