Coronavirus Updates

Circuit breaker: Don’t forget our grandparents

by Samantha Quek // April 24, 2020, 4:05 pm

Grandparents covid - 1

During this circuit breaker, it’s been heartening to see multiple Instagram Stories of friends thanking one another for treats delivered to their doorsteps. 

While it’s great to go the extra mile for our friends, it’s been on my heart that we don’t neglect a group that might be feeling exceptionally lonely this season – our grandparents.

I’m not sure about your grandparents, but being confined at home definitely isn’t a routine my grandparents are used to. The circuit breaker has been suffocating for them since they’re no longer able to hang out with fellow friends to kill time.

We need to look out for our elderly, especially if they aren’t living in the same household. In thinking about that, I’ve come up with a number of handles to help our older folks.

3 WAYS TO HELP OUR GRANDPARENTS

1. Help them with technology 

Personally, I didn’t believe it’d ever be possible for a person to connect with their grandparents through video calls.

But what my friend Cheryl shared with me completely changed my mind:

Find a way to help ah gong or ah ma download WhatsApp, then try out a video call with them.

“My mum, grandma and I are very close because my grandma comes to stay with us sometimes. Now, because of COVID-19, she stays with my uncle but calls everyday.

Initially, she was very reluctant to learn how to use WhatsApp because it is something new to her. But because she really wanted to connect with the younger members in our family (my cousins), I slowly taught her how to send voice messages. Since then, she has been voice messaging us every other day.

Last night, we wanted to show her how we repacked our house. So we thought of video calling her. We weren’t very sure if she knew how to video call, and it was quite difficult to explain, but we just gave it a shot and video called her.

To our surprise, she picked up! We had so much fun because she enjoyed herself and was so amazed by technology.”

I hope we are encouraged to be intentional in empowering our grandparents with technology. This is the best way for them to remain connected to their loved ones in this time.

It’s also exciting and empowering for them to have left the circuit breaker with a new skill! So find a way to help ah gong or ah ma download WhatsApp, then try out a video call with them.

2. Help them grasp the gravity of COVID-19

You may have seen older folks out and about who seemingly don’t care for the circuit breaker.

To me, it’s nothing malicious. It may simply be that they don’t understand how serious a threat the coronavirus poses. 

On the other hand, many of us younger folk are tech-savvy. We’re following the news on every platform. We’re immediately informed of new increases in case, we know how many clusters there are and where – you get the idea.

Singaporeans, here’s how you can help: 5 initiatives to get onboard while you #StayHome

My point is we need to extend empathy to our elderly – and information.

Some of them may be feeling a little confused behind the need to wear a mask when headed out.

They might not even know that they’re the most vulnerable group to COVID-19. 

So, as we keep ourselves updated with the latest news, let’s not leave our grandparents behind. Let’s feed them the same information objectively without causing fear or anxiety.

Here are some helpful links for our grandparents to learn about the COVID-19 situation in dialects.

3. Help them purchase essential goods 

Ah gong and ah ma will surely need help with the purchase of groceries.

If you live together, definitely be the one to get it for them so they don’t have to head out. You could also drop it off at their doorstep – though this should only be done when necessary and with extreme hygiene.

I think the best way is still ordering the groceries online. That way it’s delivered directly to them with far lower risk for all parties.

Here are some links that you can check out.

Finally, beyond reminding your older folks that you are there for them and serving them, don’t be shy to reach out for help from the authorities as well. 

There’s help available if you or your older folks need it, like the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) for instance. You can call them at 1800-650-6060 if you know of a caregiver or senior who requires help.

Remember, honouring our elderly is a noble thing in the eyes of the Lord: “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32 ESV).

So let’s do that. This season is a difficult one, but we can come out of it stronger when we look out for each other.

THINK + TALK

  1. When was the last time you spoke with your grandparents?
  2. Whether it’s writing a letter or sending a video, check in on them this week.
About the author

Samantha Quek

Samantha prefers scenic over city travels. The beauty of God's creation reminds her of His sovereignty.