Years ago as a hurricane threatened the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, my sister-in-law and I conversed about human nature. People in our community were on high alert for good reason.
Store shelves emptied fast of everyday staples like bread and milk.
Everyone stocked up on canned goods knowing the importance of having food that required no refrigeration in the event of a protracted power outage.
We filled our bathtubs with water in case city water supplies became undrinkable, or if we needed water to flush our toilets.
The drill was all too familiar. Hurricanes threatened us all of our lives. From experience, we knew the destruction a serious storm could leave in its wake.
While my sister-in-law and I prepared for the storm, we made observations about how excited everyone seemed.
She and I concluded that major events, whether perceived as negative or positive, arouse and excite us because they break up everyday monotony.
Looking around today with the nervous excitement of coronavirus, that conclusion still seems true.
Ultimately, I can’t say if stocking up on toilet paper is a form of retail therapy that helps people cope in uncertain times, or if the threat of uncertain times breaks the monotony, and people stock up on toilet paper because it’s fun.
Either way and in light of the coronavirus pandemic, I want to share what I think is common-sense advice for older adults of my baby boomer generation.
Self-reliance is not about self-sufficiency or living with less. It’s about being an independent thinker and trusting your own judgment.
There’s a lot of intense media hype about the coronavirus outbreak, and I think it’s relevant to remind ourselves to be self-reliant.
Be diverse in your search for facts. Gather information from various sources and from around the world. Think critically and independently. Sound judgment is essential for everyone’s well-being.
Let’s not overreact to rhetoric. Keep politics out of it! Be open-minded and consider sources other than Fox News.
Use common sense to determine what is the right course of action for you and your family.
Read: What is a Self-Reliant Retiree?
Preparation is not panic.
Unless you have wild uncontrollable thinking and behavior, preparing is not panicking.
It’s not irrational to stock up on food, water, medicine, and other items that make life pleasant or sustaining.
With 49 years of experience with hurricane season, I know it’s a good idea to have extra supplies on hand at any time, for any reason.
It’s disappointing to hear of people laughing and criticizing others for using an abundance of caution and stocking up.
I’m sure you already know the CDC recommends that older adults age 60 and over, stock up on everyday necessities if we need to remain indoors for a prolonged period of time.
I hope it doesn’t come to that. But if it does, having some extra food and supplies around the home is better than not.
Supply chain disruption.
Other than staying home to prevent the spread of the virus, there are reports of supply chain disruption. Shortly, items we need or want may not be readily available.
And who knows how seriously the economy will be affected.
We’re living in turbulent times. If or when the bubble bursts, it’s common sense to be prepared.
Aside from food and other essentials, you may want to consider having some emergency funds (cash) available.
Preparation is not panic. It’s exercising prudence.
Read: Can I Still Retire if the Stock Market Crashes
On being an older adult.
My daughter, who’s traveling outside of the U.S. with her family asked, “So since you guys are 60+ how does it feel to be in the group of people that are being suggested to stay away from gatherings?”
I have to admit it’s a bit surreal being an older adult in the 60+ crowd during a coronavirus pandemic. I certainly don’t feel old and believe that health, like age, is a state of mind.
I’ve never been one to invite illness, and intend to treat this coronavirus pandemic with common sense as I would any other serious cold and flu season.
That doesn’t mean that I’m taking it lightly.
For example, I’m sanitizing surfaces more often than usual and washing my hands thoroughly, and more frequently.
As far as social distancing, that shouldn’t be difficult. I work at home, exercise at home, and stream movies from my computer.
Rebel Retiree and I live in a rural area and oftentimes find ourselves recreating outdoors with very few people.
That said, the real reason to avoid crowds is to mitigate the disease, and help prevent the spread to the elderly who are more susceptible, or to those with compromised immune systems.
I hope people of my generation didn’t wait for coronavirus before they took charge of their health.
Many of us are retired or planning to and I think health is an essential ingredient of retirement planning.
Read: Plan Now for a Healthy Retirement
With that said, it’s my opinion that a positive attitude and a healthy lifestyle goes a long way toward preventing illness.
You don’t need me to give you a list of what you should do to stay healthy during these times. There’s plenty of information out there to advise you.
This link opens in another tab on the CDC website.
What I will say is that I am a firm believer in the power of the mind.
Much of the outcomes we have in life are created by what we anticipate about the future.
Also, we can either choose to accept the present moment as it is, or create unnecessary worry about something that may never happen.
Peace and well wishes to all of you!
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