Engaging in social distancing? You can still reach out and touch someone's heart.


As we all should do during this coronavirus crisis and beyond, I called an older friend to see if she needed help.

By the time I hung up five minutes later, she'd helped me more than I could've possibly helped her: our conversation propelled me off the couch and outside for a three-mile walk - and she didn't even have to yell at me like that scary, over-caffeinated lady in those Peloton commercials.

When I called Miss Edna last week - I won't use her last name because she's 88, lives alone, and the coronavirus isn't the only danger older people have to worry about - she sounded subdued, a big change from her usual ebullient self.

No, she assured me, she didn't need anything: she was well-stocked but would call if things changed. She's so independent that I know she won't, so I'll call to check again in a day or two.

She admitted to being a bit blue because she hadn't been able to make it to the gym - the GYM - which was now closed.

Part of the reason for her ability to continue her 60-plus-year career as an educator - she stopped substitute teaching just last year - is, no doubt, because she works out consistently. She goes two to three times a week, she said, and plans to resume that regimen when the current crisis abates.

Did she, like some of us, use the gym's closing as an excuse to curtail her workouts, to sit back, meld into the couch and eat Bon Bons while watching Oprah or Judge Judy?

Negative. She explained that she has still been getting in her workouts by improvising, but misses the camaraderie of her regular group of octogenarian workout warriors.