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Coronavirus: Physical Distancing Doesn’t Have to Mean Socially Disconnecting

A senior woman eating alone. The model is at a domestic table, blurred in the background with a prominent vase of sunflowers sharply in focus in the foreground.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic is challenging us all — including organizations like AARP Foundation and our team at Connect2Affect — to adapt to new ways of thinking and behaving. Actions that used to seem harmless — handshakes, hugs, just being in a crowd, even going to work — now have the potential to make us sick and spread the virus even further.

For people who are older, the vulnerabilities so many of us are feeling now are magnified. It’s alarming to hear that people over 60 are at higher risk of infection. Shutting down gathering places makes sense as ways to slow the spread of the virus — but those decisions also leave many older adults without any form of social interaction. 

As physical distancing becomes the norm, it’s vital that we do what we can to avoid social disconnection in the process. We can still check on loved ones or our neighbors by phone, text, or video chat. We can consider volunteer efforts to provide needed services in our own neighborhoods and communities while also keeping ourselves and others safe. Above all, we can share reliable information with one another. 

AARP is providing information and resources to help older people and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus and prevent it spreading to others. You can find AARP’s coronavirus resources at For the most up-to-date information about coronavirus, visit the CDC at 

We are living in a different world than we were just a few weeks ago. But if nothing else, this virus reminds us of our shared humanity — that we are all one family. Stay safe, and remember to stay connected.

Lisa Marsh Ryerson
President, AARP Foundation

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