Dear Annie: I am a 77-year-old woman, recently transplanted after 50 years in a different city and province. Due to COVID-19, I am really isolated — alone in my apartment 99 percent of the time. I go out once a week to shop, and every two or three weeks I’ll go to the laundry room.
Four generations of my family live in a triplex. I live in a building with 400 apartments and probably more than 2,000 people, ranging from seniors to large families to university students. I don’t want to put my family in danger coming near me! Senior services are available, but I like to choose my own food.
In my laundry room, someone put up an offer to help seniors during the crisis. Although that person left phone numbers to tear off, they did not say who they are or in which apartment they live. It may even be someone in the neighborhood, not a fellow resident.
Friday, I got a note in the mail telling me I am “being thought of during this time” and wishing me well. There was no signature on the card or return address on the envelope.
On the surface, these seem like acts of kindness, but instead, they may cause anxiety over and above what seniors are already experiencing being alone and the prime target for this virus.
Seniors know to beware, as we are the target of scams. Getting an anonymous note saying someone is thinking of you is creepy in the best of times and more scary now.
Please tell anyone reaching out to seniors to identify themselves.
— Thanks but No Thanks!
Dear Thanks but No Thanks!: Those acts sound more like acts of cowardice or, more likely, acts of laziness. If people want to reach out and help someone, they need to let the person know who they are.
Being alone 99 percent of the time is challenging. While the phone is good, it is also important to see the person on the other end of the line. Humans are visual beings, and it helps us feel more connected when we can look someone in the eye, even if it is through a screen.
I encourage you to reach out to family members and set up videoconferencing calls through applications such as FaceTime.
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Dear Annie: I am a biologist and an admirer of the mouse. Given my experience with mice, I wanted to clarify a few things.
First, you can in fact release mice that you have caught in a live trap, especially if the weather is nice. They can be released in surrounding fields or woods, or near shelter like a stone wall. Wild mice are burrowers and will build new nests and adapt quickly where there is suitable cover and food, and they eat almost everything.
Second, young mice are not called “children”; they are called pups. Do not compare a relocated mouse with a displaced human family, as there is no comparison.
Third, there are humane ways of getting rid of them. The simplest is using peppermint or ammonia as safe deterrents.
Please, never use glue traps, as they cause the mouse to die a horrible, slow death. Poison is perhaps the worst of all because the dead mouse can then be picked up by dogs, cats, foxes, hawks and owls, which in turn will be poisoned.
If you must use a trap to kill them, the old snap trap is the last resort.
— A Mouse Admirer
Dear Mouse Admirer: While no one wants a wild mouse in their house, I love that you go through humane ways to keep them out. When given the choice, always use the mechanism that causes the least amount of suffering to all beings.
Thank you for your professional expertise and kindhearted approach.
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— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her debut book, Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie, features favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette. Email your Dear Annie questions to email@example.com. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.