- Some young adults are concerned about the health of their parents because the coronavirus is deadlier for older patients.
- In interviews with Business Insider, six people described their difficulties in getting their parents to take precautions by cancelling plans for trivia games, casino visits, church services, and more.
- “Literally was fighting with my mum this morning about her a) going to Atlantic City last weekend; b) going to another casino via bus this weekend; and c) a cruise in April she refuses to cancel,” on person told Business Insider.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Cayla Jordan’s parents announced on a family text chain this week that they were boarding a flight to Las Vegas amid the coronavirus outbreak.
This news set off a wave of concern among Jordan and her five siblings. But their 56-year-old mother, a cancer survivor, seemed positively unshaken by the potential risks of flying.
“What you catch in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” Jordan’s mother joked on the text chain. Shortly afterwards, she boarded her flight.
“She knows what it’s like to be really sick,” Jordan, 29, said. “There’s a part of me that’s like, ‘Come on, you guys are smarter than that.'”
Jordan isn’t alone in feeling concerned about her parents’ health with the spread of the novel coronavirus, which is deadlier for older patients.
In interviews with Business Insider, six people – some of whom asked to be identified only by their first names to protect their parents’ identities – described their difficulties in persuading their ageing parents to cancel their cruises, stop going to church, or take other precautions against COVID-19, which is the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Dozens of people have also recently shared similar stories on social media about their parents’ utter lack of concern.
Jocelyn Bailey, 37, said she has failed to persuade her 75-year-old father to take the virus seriously. She said she’s worried about him not only because of his age, but because he has respiratory issues that could make him susceptible to a more severe case of COVID-19.
He’s at ease because he’s convinced that he’s already had the illness, however, much to her disbelief, she said.
“He had a cold in January that he believes now might have been COVID-19,” she said.
Who at NPR will volunteer to tell my 74-year-old mother who just got over breast cancer that yes, it's worse than a flu & she doesn't need to be going to book clubs all over town & water aerobics & Costco for no reason? She won't listen to me but she'll listen to you. Only you.
— Jenée (@jdesmondharris) March 12, 2020
Jared, 31, said he has had difficulty persuading his 60-year-old mum to cancel a cruise and stop visiting casinos.
“Literally was fighting with my mum this morning about her a) going to Atlantic City last weekend; b) going to another casino via bus this weekend; and c) a cruise in April she refuses to cancel,” he told Business Insider.
The people interviewed by Business Insider for this story said they were primarily concerned about their parents’ health amid the virus outbreak because of their age. COVID-19 is particularly severe for the elderly and immunocompromised.
South Korea, which has completed some of the fastest and most extensive testing of any country facing the coronavirus, had reported an overall death rate of 0.77% out of 7,755 cases through March 11. The death rate is dramatically higher for older patients, going as high as 7.2% for people older than 80.
But even armed with statistics, some people are finding it hard to get their parents to cut down on activities outside their homes as the virus spreads.
Alessandra, 32, said her 67-year-old mother lives in a golf community in Florida and recently refused to cancel her trivia plans.
“She told me she still plans to go to trivia with 300 of her friends who’ve all travelled outside the US in the last three months,” she said. “And she still thinks we’re coming to visit her in two weeks!”
My mom informed me that she and my dad still haven’t canceled the cruise they’ve planned for next month to which I replied OVER MY DEAD BODY YOU’RE GOING ON THAT CRUISE, DEBORAH, which is all to say that the student has—finally—become the teacher.
— Grant Ginder (@GrantGinder) March 10, 2020
Bailey said the disconnect between some parents and their children on the coronavirus might have something to do with politics.
“I think a big part of this is where people are getting their news and who they want to believe,” Bailey said, noting that she and her father, who is conservative, have different political beliefs. “My dad is smart about so many things, but right now he is not concerned about this, and he should be.”
I have a kid and my parents (63 & 65) are currently on vacation! Flying around the country, golfing up a storm like it’s NBD. Even boomers who ARE grandparents don’t seem to see themselves as elderly…
— Martha (@marloubo) March 11, 2020
A recent Quinnipiac University poll asked 1,261 voters whether they were concerned that they or someone they knew could be infected by the coronavirus. Seven in 10 Democrats said they were concerned, compared to 35% of Republicans.
Some parents might just have a hard time taking orders from their own children.
Mary, 43, said she asked her 87-year-old father to cancel his plans to usher at his church this Sunday, but he initially refused.
“He thought that was ridiculous,” she said. “A few hours later, he called to tell me that the preacher put out a notice that all church-goers 80 [years and older] should remain home at this time, so he’d stay home. He listened to the preacher, but not his daughter.”