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home : columns : dear harriette January 17, 2021

11/9/2020 8:21:00 AM
Elderly deserve respect during pandemic

DEAR HARRIETTE: I hear all the political talk back and forth about COVID-19, and it makes me sick. My mother came down with it, thanks to her caregiver -- after months of not being allowed to see any of her family. We are heartbroken. She is healing, but it is slow. She has started losing cognitive ability, we think because she has been cooped up in her apartment unable to do any of the social activities that her residence offers.

We look at our precious mother, who has done so much for us, and it's hard to hear people say that old people with ailments are going to die anyway, so that's just how it is. She is our mother. I wish I could make the politicians stop dismissing whole groups of people, especially our elderly, as dispensable during this time. What can we do? -- Anti-COVID

DEAR ANTI-COVID: Sadly, I think for some people it takes seeing a loved one stricken with this awful virus for them to take it seriously. We should be thinking that every life is precious and doing all that we can to help each person. At least that's how I was taught to look at people. All that I have read suggests that the elderly are more susceptible to this virus than young, healthy people. But that's true about just about everything and surely doesn't mean that we should shrug our shoulders and consider their demise a given.

I recommend that you write to or call your members of Congress and ask them to keep COVID-19 a priority issue for all Americans, especially the elderly. Be persistent with your protestations, as this will help them to know how serious you are. Blessings to you and your mother.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am mortified to realize that I have gained about 20 pounds during this period of quarantine. It seems to have just crept up on me. Yes, I have been sitting in my chair on Zoom calls every day for work. But I have had no choice. This is what the job requires. But I looked in the mirror the other day and couldn't believe who was staring back at me. I have to get this under control. -- SOS

DEAR SOS: You are not alone. The combination of working virtually and being super-cautious about going outside during the pandemic has caused thousands of people to pack on some pounds. The good news is that you can do something about it. Many gyms, personal trainers, yoga teachers and other fitness professionals now offer classes online. You can join a class or hire a personal coach to work with you. Prices range dramatically, so you should be able to find the right teacher or class at the right price for you. There are even free classes online. You just have to look for them. Commit and take action. 

I participated in a dance class with famed choreographer Debbie Allen on her Instagram page (for free). Did you know that supermodel Naomi Campbell has hosted exercise classes with her trainer (for free) on IG too? That's just two out of hundreds of options to help you move. Don't forget -- you will also need to evaluate what you are consuming in order to lose the extra weight. Good luck!

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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