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Retirees in Action

   Jim Carr  A message from PEF Retiree President Jim Carr

We must help each other get through this crisis

We are currently practicing social distancing to fight the spread of the coronavirus. New Yorkers have been on “pause” 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 I watch Gov. Cuomo’s morning briefing where he gives New Yorkers the facts and most current data on the virus and “New York Pause”.  He is careful to separate the facts and data from personal opinion. He is following the science and the data that is available.

I also tune into the national news around 5 p.m. every day to listen to President Trump. I find it very hard to be reassured by him when he is sending mixed messages, blaming governors and contradicting the experts and scientists.

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.  We are all feeling some relief and more hopeful now as the state is beginning to reopen businesses and services.

Regular connection with aging friends and family are more important than ever before. This crisis has shown just how vulnerable our aging population is, physically, psychologically and emotionally. The social isolation makes 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 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 midst of one of the most serious crises in our lifetimes. Other than 9/11, this is the most serious crisis many of us have seen.

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 occurred 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).

Retirees, as the wise Americans that have experienced life for longer than most, must resist the urge to panic. We must ensure the weakest among us are taken care of. Payments of pensions and Social Security are continuing unabated. Retirees received direct payments from the federal stimulus.  So, if you have plenty and don’t need the stimulus money, please consider donating it to someone less fortunate or to your community food bank.

Please remember during this New York on Pause time to practice social distancing at all times even as things begin to reopen.  Don’t gather in groups, don’t panic, don’t hoard.  Continue to wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer if you have it when soap and water are not available.

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


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