Do Your Part to Stem Covid-19: An Intergenerational Call to Action

Older adults, especially those with chronic health conditions, are the most vulnerable to experiencing severe complications from COVID-19. But it is everyone's responsibility to slow the outbreak and protect ourselves and our older loved ones, neighbors, and friends. Here are 5 ways you can help.

Intergenerational family on a videocall

Health first!

  • The most important first step is to protect yourself.
  • Stay informed—follow the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and your local health department.
  • If you are in a high-risk group, if you are feeling sick, if you are self-isolating, or if you have tested positive, there are different steps you must take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Start by talking to your doctor.
  • Avoid unnecessary public activities, crowds, and public transportation. Postpone non-emergency doctor appointments.

Practice physical distancing and social connecting

  • Staying at home doesn't mean we can’t stay connected in other ways.
  • Maintain a safe distance from other people—preferably 6 feet.
  • Make sure to stay socially connected. Walk around your neighborhood, go out in nature, talk to friends—but keep a safe distance.
  • Pick up the telephone or use Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime. The good news is many people will be home, so it can be easier to reach them.
  • Use email, texts, and social media to stay connected with friends, family, and your community.

Reach out and educate

  • Be a source of accurate, trusted information for your family, friends, and neighbors.
  • Don't assume that everyone knows what you know about how to protect themselves and others. Make sure they are taking proper precautions.
  • Urge the younger people in your life to take this seriously.
  • Reach out especially to isolated older adults you know. Check in on them. Let them know you care. See if they need help and, if they do, help them figure out how to get it.

Be proactive about your health

  • It's very important to do what you can to keep your physical health and mental well-being strong.
  • Boost your immune system with exercise. Go outside in the sunshine, hydrate, eat a balanced and nutritious diet, make sure you have enough medications for at least a month.
  • Do what you can to reduce stress and anxiety—don't give in to fear. Now is the time to stay calm and live realistically.

Ask for help if you need it

  • You are not alone. We are all in this together.
  • If you need help getting food or other essential goods and services, let people know. Don't be afraid to ask a neighbor, friend, or family member for a helping hand.
  • If you're having trouble paying your bills, visit the NCOA's free BenefitsCheckUp ( to see if you qualify for public and private benefits programs to help pay for food, medicine, and more.
We will get through this if we all support each other!

Author: James Firman, President & CEO of the National Council on Aging (NCOA). For more than 35 years, Jim has been a leading force for innovation in services, programs, and public policies for older adults. The NCOA is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. Their mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. Through innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy, NCOA is partnering with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020.