Years ago, when the world was under attack from SARS, Ebola and Legionnaires disease to name a few, we made sure our seniors and elderly loved ones were being cared for.

I was never frightened for myself but worried about my grandparents and parents. Now, Grandpa and I are in the high-risk group.

Our family’s concern and love has been a tremendous uplift to our spirits. We are being extra cautious and heeding the stay-at-home mandate. When we get our mail, we use gloves and avoid contact with our lovely neighbors. As scary and serious as this is, there are things we can do to help each other and also pass the time.

It’s clear that it is going to go on for a while, especially since many younger folks feel invincible, like we did back then. No one is safe from this, and until we have a possible antidote, it is best for those who can to shelter in place.

I miss my grandchildren. One of them lives in Germany, and I speak with him on a regular basis, urging him to follow the advice of the medical experts and remain vigilant in his safety. Others are experiencing a combination of spring break and the mandate to stay inside, which is frustrating to this grandmother, who had lots of break-time plans.

We, as grandparents, are the go-to people when it comes to caring for the grands while the parents are working. Another grandson is home because his college, like so many across the country, is closed. The idea that he is around the corner and I can’t hug him is frustrating, but he is safe and that’s all that matters.

His sister is a high school senior. No prom, no graduation and no heading off to college until this is resolved. She has a great attitude and is not complaining, but I know her heart is full for her classmates and friends.

Everyone knows the basics — wash your hands often and always before you touch your face; stay indoors and only venture out for absolute essentials like medications, groceries and urgent doctor visits; call your doctor before going; and if you are coughing and running a fever of over 100.4, call immediately.

There are many local restaurants delivering food. Support them as much as you can. Have them leave the package at your door, and when you pay on the phone or online, include a tip so you don’t have to exchange money. Safeway delivers also, but they do not allow tips.

Order only what you need. Hoarding things is not necessary. If you can’t find toilet tissue and you are out entirely, grab a plastic bag and place it in your bathroom. Use tissues or napkins or paper towels and then put them in the trash bag so you don’t flush them. It can clog up your pipes, and then you’ll have a real tissue issue!

If you live alone, call and check in with someone daily. Make sure your neighbors, especially here in Summerset, have enough food and supplies. Help them order things online if they don’t have access. Costco, Amazon and a lot of other websites are delivering, and although they are out of many items for now, check back often.

Try to get things like protein bars, hot cereal and canned goods. I know they are scarce, but I was able to get several things to tide us over if this goes on much longer. Use up the perishables in your fridge. Make soup out of the vegetables that may go bad with water and the spices that are in your pantry. Freeze what you can.

Check to see what stores have special hours for people 60 years and older. It isn’t foolproof, but it limits the number of shoppers by quite a bit. Use gloves and the hand sanitizer wipes they supply on the carts. Wash your hands with the gloves on after you are done shopping and then rewash your hands as you sing the birthday song.

My daughter, who is a health care professional, sent me a link,, which states, “ is a grassroots effort to help our most vulnerable during the COVID-19 health crisis. We are a community collaboration of people helping people and are not limited to Brentwood but to all of East County.”

Try to keep some normalcy in your daily lives. Get up and take a nice hot shower. Change into comfortable but clean clothing. It’s the sweats of the day for me. Call loved ones and face time if you have access. Make a list of projects you have been putting off around the house. I for one need to do some purging, so it’s one room at a time.

This is serious, no question about it, but using our heads and staying indoors is a must. Listen to the experts; the doctors and medical personnel who are giving you the real answers. We are all praying for those who are ill and for a cure. In the meantime, I am grateful for Grandpa, who is here with me, and for my loved ones who care enough to call. Virtual hugs to all.

Last but not least, is to say prayers and give thanks to the people that do not have the option to stay home: truckers, nurses, doctors, hospital employees, grocery clerks, pharmacists, bank personnel, delivery people, postal workers, caregivers, sanitation workers, our military and all who risk their lives daily for our safety and comfort.

Marla Luckhardt is a Brentwood resident who works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. Reach her at