March 23, 2020
By Nathan Jones
Two weeks ago, I pictured my Friday looking a bit different than it looks today. I imagined two TVs streaming the NCAA March Madness tournament games while I worked throughout the day checking my bracket every 30 minutes or so as different games started and ended. The world has a way of throwing you curve-balls every now and then.
If you’re like me, the chaos surrounding us has caused you to sit back and think a little bit deeper than you would on a typical March afternoon. Instead of watching basketball and revamping my golf swing after a long winter break, I’m wondering how much food to stock up for a potential lock down, what to do with my investments, and which puzzles or TV shows to start in attempt to keep myself sane.
After 1 week without sports and now social distancing myself as much as possible, I’ve learned these 5 lessons.
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#1 – Don’t take basic needs for granted.
What happens if the internet goes out and the internet company is on a 2-week travel ban? What if grocery stores shut down? What if gas stations employees stopped going to work? What if I was one of the millions who do cannot earn a paycheck because of the virus?
Hopefully, we do not get to the point where we need an answer for some of these questions, but the list could go on and on.
#2 – Human nature is to think about yourself first; however, thinking about yourself first is not always right.
I shamefully admit when March Madness cancellation was announced, I looked at those $70 plane tickets for a weekend in the mountains to be entertained just like to many other millennials probably did and almost booked it. Everything that I had seen up to that point is that millennials simply get a cold with the Covid-19, so I was willing to risk a minor cold for a fun weekend in the mountains. From talking with my peers, they were all thinking the same thing.
Fast forward to a few days later and after many conversations, my mindset has completely shifted. My cousin who is 2 months younger than me has a 3-month-old baby. He also has one Chemo treatment left to defeat his leukemia. If he somehow got exposed to Covid-19, it could potentially be fatal.
Then, as we all know, our parents/grandparents can be the most affected by Covid-19, so just as my MawMaw took care of me for so many years, it is now my responsibility to do the same and protect her.
For me to think of myself first and only how the virus affects was simply wrong. I needed a shift in my mindset and thankfully the shift occurred before leaving on any trips.
#3 – It’s better to overreact to the unknown than underreact and suffer the consequences.
It’s natural for some of us to think during this time, “Aren’t we all overreacting just a little bit?” The truth is that we might be, but what if we aren’t? I saw a LinkedIn post from Sandy Cooper, COO at Principal Senior Living Group, and it said, “In the end, it will be impossible to know if we overreacted or did too much, but it will be QUITE apparent if we under reacted or did too little.”
The old saying, “It’s better to be safe than sorry,” sums it up in a nutshell. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Learn how to spend time with friends virtually.
#4 – Stock Market down, Church “attendance” up
Over the last few years, I’ve began trying to learn the stock market a bit more. The last time the stock market took a hit like it has this month, I was in high school (2008), so I didn’t really know what was going on. However, this time around, I have been following the changes much more closely. It is obviously causing chaos, and the most interesting thing to me is watching what people are turning to in the midst of panic.
Online church is not a concept. Some churches have been streaming their services for several years now. However, last Sunday was a first for me. I watched Louie Giglio from Passion City Church preach a message like there were thousands of people in front of him, except he actually was in an empty auditorium. During my unique experience of “going” to church on my couch, it struck me when Louie mentioned that the number of viewers online surpassed the largest gathering our church has ever had.
I heard a quote from Levi Lusko, pastor of Fresh Life Church, in my last year of college that has stuck with me through hard times. He said, “Suffering isn’t an obstacle to being used by God. It is an opportunity to be used like never before.”
This quote reminded me that whether you’re on the front-line care time working tirelessly to keep your people safe or you haven’t left your home in 7 days and are going stir crazy, there’s a bigger story being written. We just don’t know the ending, nor do we see the full picture.
#5 – Be there when they need you… My stories can wait.
When the Federal Government announced that visitors were no longer allowed in nursing homes until further notice, it did not take long for our phones to start ringing off the hook. I work for a technology company (iN2L) that helps communities engage residents and keep families connected. While I am one of the biggest believers out there in using technology to help someone with their day-to-day job, I never would have imagined the extent of the impact technology could have in a time like this.
On one hand, the influx of calls and stories I have received has made me proud for the company that I work for. I’ve also seen so many incredible stories from other senior living vendors sharing the stories they have received.
Naturally as a sales guy, when I hear these stories about iN2L, I want to jump on email and the phone to share them with as many folks as possible.
However, on the other hand, I stepped back a second, and I saw all the questions senior living communities are working to answer right now.
How do we handle care staff leaving and coming back to the community? How do we keep our residents happy, but also safe? How do you relieve the stress from the families? The list goes can be exhaustive.
My heart broke, and my perspective changed.
Maybe it’s not quite the right time to share “success” stories. Instead, it’s just a time to simply be there if they need you.
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Thank you to all of the caregivers working around the clock to keep our parents and grandparents safe during this time!Wash your hands everyone!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nathan Jones is the Regional Sales Manager for the Southeast at iN2L, an engagement technology platform that connects seniors with their interests and what fulfills them. Jones also started a social media platform called Southern Senior Living Awards, which has grown to be one of the top-followed senior living accounts on Instagram (@southernseniorliving). His goal is to spread the good news of Senior Living to his millennial peers in an effort to help change the perception of aging.