Will our lives ever be same?

FACEMASKS IN FUTURE — The AARP says American lives will be affected in the future in 10 different ways, and facemarks are certain to be in the nation's future.

The coronavirus is expected to be with us until a vaccine is available, but until then we will be keeping up our protective measures. When we have a vaccine, will our lives then go back to what they were?

The AARP and others believe the changes we have made to cope with the invisible disease will be with us for a long time to come.

We are celebrating Mother’s Day today, and the pandemic has taken a toll on that celebration in many families. However, we can still honor our mothers — God bless them — in our individual ways.

I have written many times about my mother’s belief that a good education was the best ticket to a good, healthy, satisfying life, and I have reaped all of those benefits.

Jo Ann, the mother of our children, is dealing with some tough medical issues at the moment, but she has expertly handled her motherly responsibilities. Our family has truly been God’s best blessing.

Jamie, our daughter, and Edith, our daughter-in-law, are mothers and the granddaughter and grandson they have cared for so well are testaments to their success.

Jessica, Jamie’s daughter, is the mother of Aurora, our first great grandchild. We knew Jessica was going to be a dutiful and caring mother, and she has been just that. Edith is the mother of Andrew, our grandson, and he knows his mother is a jewel.

Our family gatherings on Sunday have been the major casualty of the coronavirus, but we still get together in smaller groups in order to protect the health of everyone in the family.

Now, what changes can we expect in our families’ lives in the future? Andy Markowitz of AARP consulted a number of experts and surveys to come up with a story headlined, “10 things the pandemic has changed for good.”

Jeffrey Cole, a research professor at the University of Southern California, said the effects of lockdowns, layoffs and massive public measures to contain COVID-19 will last long after the threat is gone.

“Without preparation or permission, we’re participating in the greatest social science experiment of all time,” Cole said. “In the future, we’ll talk about ‘BC,’ before corona, and after.”

Extensive working at home during the pandemic is expected to stay with us as the first major change in our lifestyles. The survey showed that 42 percent said the experience has made them want to work from home more. The relaxed attire and grooming standards and the lack of a commute were liked by 61 percent, and 78 percent said they are just as effective working from home.

Telemedicine is the second change we can expect to continue. The hassles of parking and waiting-room time are eliminated, and it is easier for family members to observe and participate.

A survey of 1,500 consumers found that 55 percent had shopped for groceries online, and 41 percent said they planned to try delivery in the next six months. Many used new apps to make their purchases.

Staying in touch will also change. There is the new technology of Zoom that makes it possible for many to connect online. Phone calls aren’t as popular because people are getting used to seeing people with whom they are conversing.

The wearing of facemasks may not be widespread, but for many folks — particularly the elderly —they may be here to stay. A Minnesota law professor said it would become routine in dense urban areas or when people with a cold or common flu need to venture out.

AARP said streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime have taken a toll on going to the movies, and those services are going to become even more popular. Moviemakers and theaters are going to have to rethink their goals in order to deal with the changes.

Traveling by air has declined, but it is expected to resume. However, the author of an air-travel blog said cleanliness will matter more, and airplanes and airports will have to make that a high priority. The same goes for those who ride in public transportation, and they will still need buses, trains and subways to get to their jobs and elsewhere.

Contact tracing, which is a system for locating those who have come in contact with persons with highly communicable diseases like COVID-19, will cause some loss of personal privacy. Cole said, “Health trumps everything.”

Finally, comes washing of our hands. Polls have shown it will continue more often than in the past. The AARP report said more than a third of Americans now classify themselves as “germaphobes.” Hand sanitizers will also continue to be in high demand.

Many Americans may not agree with AARP’s findings about how our futures will change. However, those of us considered older Americans will continue our coronavirus protective activities. It hasn’t always been easy, but, so far, those measures have kept us safe.

Enjoy your Mother’s Day!

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