Mary Blazanin

Admittedly, the only time I ever thought about flattening the curve before COVID-19 hit hard in the United States was the first week of January. That’s when I realized all the good holiday treats had finally caught up with me. My definition has since changed.

I had also made a simple New Year’s resolution to reduce stress by slowing down a little and taking time to be more healthy, thankful, reflective and prayerful in a fast-paced world. As shutdowns continue around us, COVID-19 certainly boosts my ability to keep those resolutions. Now, I can do this quite often, for at least 20 seconds at a time, while washing my hands. And social distancing gives me plenty of reflective downtime.

Introverts (I know, because I live with one) have embraced this new social distancing directive. They can now politely decline social gatherings without excuse, stay in to work on home-repair or craft projects, and take sought-after naps. This is a beautiful thing for many introverts.

For me, on the other hand, social distancing is like walking into a wall. How is it possible to avoid fun or crowded gathering places, hug someone who needs it, shake the hand of a colleague, or chat with a friend over a good cup of coffee? If you are like me, this is a true test of restraint in uncharted territory.

Thankfully, we live in a computer-connected world, so seniors and families looking to break the boredom of isolation can Google free movies or game ideas to fill the time. And, here are just a few ideas for “couch tours” as well. Simply Google the name to access a website.

Free Virtual Tours: Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA); San Diego Zoo; Uffizi Art Gallery; The Louvre; Smithsonian Institute Museums; Discovery Channel Virtual Field Trips; National Aquarium; National Parks.

Free Online Performances: Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Broadway plays and musicals (varies by theater).

I know social distancing and imposed quarantines will not last forever, but it will forever change the way we learn how to handle this kind of adversity. I am especially aware of the extraordinary kindness and dedication of those working hardest to get us through it, including our first responders, essential service providers, and health care workers, to name a few.

Our city, county and state leaders have also put in long hours and dedicated service as they make difficult decisions to keep communities informed and safe. The Chanhassen Senior Center, Rec Center and City Hall are closed to the public until further notice.

Seniors and our immune compromised friends are being hit especially hard. They are most likely to be isolated and unable to access needed supplies, food and care. The city of Chanhassen will continue to post on our social media and website how to best support both local organizations and local businesses whose services help these vulnerable folks.

If you are a senior in need, or know of one, here are some resources currently available.

If you are an organization looking for volunteers, please contact Mary Blazanin, city of Chanhassen, at 952-227-1124. If you are a volunteer looking for ways to help, watch for upcoming links on the city’s website.

Senior Linkage Line: 1-800-333-2433. Statewide resources for seniors.

Home delivered meals: CAP Agency Carver County, capagency.org, 952-496-2125 or email info@capagency.org. Meals can be delivered Monday-Friday. Volunteer drivers/deliverers are also needed, along with food shelf and financial donations.

Food and essentials for pickup or delivery: For a list of local restaurants and stores who will deliver or provide take out, go to the city’s website or call 952-227-1100.

Food assistance, or to donate financially for food and essentials: Eastern Carver County Love INC, loveincecc.org, 952-448-2508 or email help@loveincecc.org

Community health: Carver County Public Health, 952-361-1329; public-health@co.carver.mn.us

Mary Blazanin is the Chanhassen Senior Center coordinator. The senior center is located at 7700 Market Blvd., Chanhassen. More info at 952-227-1125.

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