COVID-19 Pandemic: How Should We Respond to the Dying of the Elderly?
You are to rise in the presence of the elderly,
honor the aged, and fear your God. I am the LORD.
–Let Us Envision a Post-Pandemic Era in Which We Rise in the
Presence of the Elderly and Honor the Aged Unlike Ever Before–
You are to rise in the presence of the elderly
You are to rise in the presence of the elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic as challenging as it may be. During the pandemic, we are encouraged to socially distance from elderly persons if we are not currently living with them as a family unit. Social distance can easily cultivate feelings of isolation, uncertainty, frustration and even fear among some of the elderly. The longer the pandemic, the longer our absence may be felt, and the more intense feelings of separation, insecurity, vexation, and fright may be felt by some.
To rise in the presence of the elderly can evolve into action beyond an act of respect and recognition during our coming post-pandemic era. “To rise” can become a rallying cry.
Let us now envision a post-pandemic era in which an increasing number of us rise in the presence of the elderly giving voice to a rallying cry “to rise,” which would result in collective actions on behalf of the elderly that alleviates any feelings of abandonment and prevents premature death.
Honor the aged
Honoring the aged can be a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic that we could overcome. We can social distance in ways that could not only honor the aged but also respectfully help alleviate any feelings of separation, uncertainty, frustration, and fear among them.
Staying on the phone or remaining connected by video in order to chat a little longer, grocery shopping and safely delivering foods and supplies, mailing cards and letters that include artwork from your kids if you have any, and following protocols for visiting nursing homes and assisted living facilities are ways that we rise in the presence of the elderly and honor them.
We can envision honoring the aged and rising in the presence of the elderly as an extraordinary and transformative opportunity in a post-pandemic era if we welcome the fear of God.
Fear your God
The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111.10) and the COVID-19 pandemic is providing us with many teachable moments regarding the elderly from which we can learn and put into practice what the scriptures teach us, which is “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is within your power to act (Proverbs 3.27).
As we contemplate these teachable moments, we need to ask and answer—How should we respond to the dying of the elderly due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
We are in the midst of a global pandemic, facing a disease that disproportionately kills elderly persons. It may even feel like we are somehow complicit in letting the elderly die excessively when we read and quote statistics that half of the persons who die from the COVID-19 disease are elderly.
COVID-19 is indeed putting “a spotlight on the question—How should we respond to the dying of the elderly due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Family and friends of the elderly are not ready to let the elderly that are close to them die. They rise in their presence, honor them, and fear God. All of us, however, should also rise in the presence of the elderly whether they are known to us or not, honor the aged no matter who they are, and fear our God, which is the beginning of wisdom.
I am the LORD
I am the Lord who discloses to you the secrets of wisdom, for wisdom has two sides (Job 11.6). One is that “wisdom and strength belong to (me); counsel and understanding are (mine) (Job 12.13)” and the other is that “Wisdom is found with the elderly, and understanding comes with long life (Job 12.12).”
Thus, to rise in the presence of the elderly is to find wisdom and to honor the aged is to gain understanding.
The answer to the question—How should we respond to the dying of the elderly due to the COVID-19 pandemic?—may go largely unanswered until enough of us rise in their presence.
When enough of us rise in the presence of the elderly, honor the aged, and fear our God, we will be in a position to envision a post-pandemic era in which we can respond to the dying of the elderly unlike ever before.
How can we respond?
There is increasing technology for video and audio conferencing and chatting to help minimize social isolation. There are plenty of online marketplaces for food and other daily essentials and an abundance of food pickup and home delivery services. There are a growing number of home pickup and drop-off transportation services. Home visits from health care specialists is becoming increasingly common.
Some elderly may need to learn more about advancing technology and how to access and use video and audio conferencing and chatting, online marketplaces, food pickup and home delivery services, transportation services, and home visits. They may not be able to afford these services. Thus, we need to be openhearted towards the elderly unlike ever before.
It is time for us to envision a post-pandemic era in which we use technology and promote innovation as a respond to the dying of the elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to alleviate any feelings of abandonment and prevent premature deaths among the elderly in a post-pandemic era.
I am the Lord and “Behold, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it (Isaiah 43.19)?” Rise in the presence of the elderly, honor the aged, and fear your God. I am the Lord.