Covid-19 has interrupted our lives in more ways than we can count. We’ve had to make so many changes to our schedules and alter the way we interact with others. Perhaps one of the greatest emotional losses has been for grandparents separated from their grandchildren.
You may be asking your adult children when you can go see the grandkids or when they’re going to bring the kids to you. Don’t take the lack of visits personally. Many parents feel pulled in two directions. They want to please you with a visit, but they want to be careful.
Remember, your kids may feel conflicted when you ask to get together. They don’t want to say “no” to you, but couples with young children are struggling with how to handle this request. They don’t want to bring anything into your environment that could cause you to get sick, and they also don’t want to risk their own children getting sick.
As a grandparent, it may feel lonely without your grandkids around. But try to consider the very difficult position your adult kids are in - having to make the important decision of whether to visit you or not to visit you – even though they know you may be disappointed. Your grown children are trying their best to weigh the pros and cons and figure out if there is a safe way to visit.
If you have serious medical conditions, reconsider a visit with the grandkids
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging people to limit time spent with family and friends who are at a higher risk of becoming severely ill due to COVID-19. Getting seriously ill means the person may need to be hospitalized, be put into intensive care, put on a respirator or possibly result in death. People considered high-risk for complications from the novel coronavirus include:
People with Underlying Medical Conditions including these conditions and others:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Someone who recently had an organ transplant
- Serious heart conditions
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Health organizations are in the process of collecting data on how this respiratory illness is affecting people with different types of pre-existing conditions. The CDC now states that there are additional groups identified as possibly being at an increased risk for severe illness if they get COVID-19. They include people with asthma, high blood pressure, those who have weakened immune systems and numerous others.
If you have one or more of these medical conditions, you should consider canceling your road trip or plane ride to see your grandkids. It’s also good judgment not to travel to or from areas that are experiencing spikes of high rates of transmission.
You should also postpone a visit if you learn that your kids or any of your grandkids have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with the virus. The CDC reminds us that 8 out of 10 COVID-19 deaths in our country have been among those 65 and older.
Remain disciplined even though it’s hard to do. Continue to stay home as much as possible, minimize the number of people you interact with outside your household. You can’t always recognize when someone is sick. It’s estimated that upward of 45% of those infected are asymptomatic - which likely plays a role in the silent transmission of this illness.
If you want to see your grandkids, talk to your kids about it
If your family decides to go ahead with a visit, it can be helpful to talk about the rules of engagement. Here are some things you can discuss ahead of time to set expectations and make your visit less stressful:
- Visit outside if you’re able to or go for a walk
- If indoors, connect in a well-ventilated area
- Agree not to hug the kids – even though you want to
- You can all agree to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart
- Everyone can agree to wash their hands before, during and after the visit
- Everyone can commit to reducing the number of people they come in contact with, particularly 14 days before the planned visit
The decision to visit or not to visit is up to each family and the risk they’re willing to take. No interaction is completely risk-free. Time with the grandkids is highly treasured - so for the good of all - encourage everyone in the family to consistently practice healthy protocols to prevent getting or spreading COVID-19.