The United States has been living with the COVID-19 pandemic since early March. We've been told time and time again by scientists and doctors that the best thing we can do to curb the spread of the virus is to wear a mask, social distance, and wash our hands.
And while "millennials" and other younger people have been constantly criticized for not adhering to these safety measures, plenty of these very people have been struggling for months to get their older boomer parents to stay home and quarantine properly, to wear masks and actually take the pandemic seriously. For some reason, lots of older people simply don't think they have anything to worry about.
The tables truly have turned. I've heard so many stories of parents still hosting parties, getting together with friends and family, and making unnecessary trips out into the world to shop. Why is this the case? Why do some older people just think the virus is a non-issue for them?
Well, it could be a combination of things. Writer Molly Jong-Fast wrote for Vogue that her own mom, who is 78 years old, wasn't worried about getting COVID-19 because she "doesn't feel old and she writes books and has all the energy of someone in her 30s."
Lots of older people don't actually realize how old and at-risk they are. "Being an older adult today is not the same as being an older adult 50 years ago," Jong-Fast writes. "Just look around at the people running our government today. The average age of a sitting United States senator is 61.8. The president is 73. Nancy Pelosi is 79."
This article was written months ago, so we now know that the president indeed did contract COVID-19 and had to be sent to the hospital for treatment! And still, some people — the president included — had trouble believing they were actually at risk.
Many older adults have been way too cavalier about the virus in general, partially because of Donald Trump's approach to dealing the crisis. He repeatedly said that it was no big deal and that it would disappear on its own and that we didn't have to worry about.
Seven months later, over 220,000 Americans are dead, the virus is spreading uncontrolled, and in all other ways, the pandemic response has been an unmitigated disaster. But if it hasn't affected someone personally, sometimes it's hard for them to think the threat is real.
Worse than not taking it seriously, some people believe it's actually a hoax and doesn't exist at all. And younger people who care about their parents and don't want to see them put themselves at risk are at their wits' end. They have no idea what to do.
If you have older parents who still won't take the pandemic seriously, Roopika suggests leading them to the AARP website, which apparently has lots of good information. Maybe your parents will see that as a trusted source.
It must be super frustrating to have parents or other loved ones who aren't taking the pandemic seriously. But you can only do what you can do. They're adults! They should be responsible for their own lives!