Ask Ann Cannon: How can I get my senior citizen relatives to physically distance?

Ann Cannon

Dear Ann Cannon • My 80-year-old aunt and uncle think that social distancing applies to strangers, but not to family or people they love. They continue to visit their adult children’s homes for dinner, babysit grandkids, and try to hug me if I drop something off at their house. Is there anything I can do to help them understand or be safer?

Call Me Concerned

Dear Concerned • It’s interesting to see how people define “social distancing,” isn’t it? And you’ve touched on an experience that many families are having right now. Just this morning, in fact, a friend of mine complained to me about her cousins who are acting like it’s all business as usual with their 80-something (and vulnerable) grandmother.

So, what can you do? Frankly, I don’t think you can change your family’s behavior. They’ve heard the same information you have and have chosen this course of action. Meanwhile, keep a safe and healthy distance yourself, while reminding your aunt and uncle that you’re doing so because you love them, too.

Dear Ann Cannon • I’m a bit tired of gender inequality. My husband is fine with me cooking, cleaning or any other “woman’s work.” While we’ve been in this isolation, I thought it would be a great time for some sprucing up. Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t think I have the skills to paint, repair, etc. It doesn’t take a specific chromosome set to accomplish most tasks, right? He’s usually a wonderful mate, but this “gender specific” attitude toward certain tasks is driving me nuts. Especially right now! How do I retrain generations of this?

Frustrated Wife

Dear Frustrated • Wow. I’ll confess. This email took me a little by surprise. I forget sometimes that there are people (even wonderful people) who still think of certain tasks as being gender specific.

OK, here’s what you oughta do. Grab a paintbrush, get busy and prove your husband wrong. Hopefully, he’ll get the point and choose to join in the reindeer games himself. Wishing you the best of luck!

Dear Ann Cannon • I’ve reached the “OK, boomer” status. I find it extremely amusing and totally annoying for the younger generations, with all their subpar life experience and modern education, to jump to conclusions that they have no background knowledge about. They aren’t willing to discuss different points of view or even go back and research the actual history of events that could hold context and meaning. Compromise and give-and-take have worked throughout time, but in today’s society, all I hear is “I’m right and you’re wrong. Period.” There’s got to be a better way to live.


Dear Boomer • I do think it would be an excellent thing if we listened to one another more and scolded each other less, although it seems to me that people of all ages are guilty of this behavior these days. And while I, as a boomer myself, completely understand your frustration at automatically being dismissed because of your age, I wonder if we should describe the experiences of our younger generations as “different” rather than “subpar.” After all, when it comes to things like technology, most of them are much savvier than we are — or at least than I am.

Meanwhile, I think you could take some comfort in the fact that as younger generations grow older themselves, they invariably tend to look at those who went before with a little more respect, right?

Hang in there!

Ann Cannon is The Tribune’s advice columnist. Got a question for Ann? Email her at askann@sltrib.com or visit the Ask Ann Cannon page on Facebook.

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