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Retirees in Action

   Jim Carr  A message from PEF Retiree President Jim Carr

Stay safe, informed; don’t panic or hoard! Take care of each other!

It’s the second week in April and I am writing this column for May, we are currently practicing social distancing to fight the spread of coronavirus. New Yorkers have been on “pause” for several weeks because this virus is no joke it’s not a “hoax.”  It has drastically changed our way of life and devastated our economy.

I try to stay informed so every day, and I watch Gov. Cuomo’s morning briefings where he gives New Yorkers the facts and most current data on the coronavirus and “New York Pause.”  I also tune into the national news around 5 p.m. everyday to listen to President Trump.

In this time of record pandemic, economic and personal struggles we need to all work together, take responsibility for our actions and help each other.  We are New York tough and we are all in this together.  We need to help those who may be less fortunate than we are, we need to stay home, stay safe, stay informed and connect with others via social media networks until the pause is ended.

Regular connection with aging friends and family are more important than ever before. The coronavirus crisis has shown just how vulnerable our aging population is — physically, psychologically and emotionally. The current social isolation will likely make a bad situation worse. We have more communication tools than ever before in history to provide for remote contact. But many isolated elderly individuals may not have ability or the knowledge and skills to access and use the technology for contact.

Additionally, communication technology is no substitute for the human touch. With many health care facilities barring visits, even from close family, there is great concern about the impact the sheltering-in-place requirements will have on the well-being of many individuals.

Do whatever you can to stay in touch with elderly friends and family in these difficult times. If they can manage the technology, by all means use email and video conferencing in these difficult times. At the very least, however, send them kind written notes and make regular sympathetic phone calls.

We are in the mist of one of the most serious crises in our lifetimes. Other than 9/11 this is the most serious crisis we have seen here in New York. The coronavirus pandemic challenges us to both survive and to ensure our humanity. This challenge is especially concerning to our retirees because 70 percent of the deaths from this virus occur in those over the age of 70 and many of those people have underlying health conditions, and 80 percent of the deaths of those under the age of 70 occur in people with underlying health conditions. So seniors are in a group of highest risk for death from COVID-19 (coronavirus).

We retirees are the wise Americans who have experienced life for longer than most, and we must resist the urge to panic. We must ensure the weakest among us are receive the care they need.

Payments of pensions and Social Security will continue unabated. Retirees will receive direct payments from the federal stimulus.  Please consider helping your community.  If you feel that you have plenty and don’t need all of the stimulus money you receive, please consider donating some of it to someone less fortunate, your community food bank, or to the PEF Relief Fund.

Please remember during this New York on Pause time to practice social distancing at all times.  Don’t gather in groups, don’t panic, don’t hoard.  The supply chain is intact and will not run out.

Remember to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer if you have it when soap and water are not available.

Unfortunately panic and fear have led to hoarding and scarcity of hand sanitizer and other simple things we all need.  By refusing to panic and hoard, we can help alleviate this situation.

Stay safe, stay informed and help one another. “Together we are Stronger.” 

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