Is It Safe To Visit Your Mother On Mother’s Day? A Doctor Offers A Decision Checklist

Many Mother’s Day visits this year will take place by video chats, as people put safety first.

As a physician, mother, daughter and socially responsible human, I’m finding Mother’s Day to be complicated for me this year, as it is for millions. Questions of whether and how to see my adult children and my own elderly mother present medical and ethical quandaries. As an associate professor of family medicine with a focus on wellness, as Mother’s Day approaches, I’d like to share with you my thinking about this using some tools to aid discernment.

Wouldn’t it be great if choosing time with parents or offspring were ever an easy decision to make? However, the answer is rarely that simple. This year, in the midst of a global pandemic and the need to continue to practice social distancing, the decision is even more complex than usual.

I have come up with a Mother’s Day matrix to help you decide how to safely celebrate in a fact-based and safe manner. This matrix weighs the many factors to consider, specifically related to the pandemic.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, on the need to social distance.

Personal risk

Assessing your personal risk is one aspect of the matrix. Are you or is your mother in a high-risk group? Presence of chronic disease or age over 65 are two major risks. You can check this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention link for more specific details.

Besides your specific personal risks, are either of you in repeated contact with the public through your job?

Are you symptomatic?

Have you been exposed to a carrier? Are young children, who can be asymptomatic carriers, in the picture?

If any of these questions is answered with a yes, it is certainly wise to forgo any thought of an in-person visit. If all are no, you can proceed to the next part of the matrix.

Where you live matters

Are you in a high-prevalence area for coronavirus, such as New York City? If you are in a sparsely populated area with low regional prevalence, it makes more sense to consider an in-person visit than if you (or she) live in midtown Manhattan. Check your local prevalence here.

1 2
View single page >> |
How did you like this article? Let us know so we can better customize your reading experience. Users' ratings are only visible to themselves.

Comments

Leave a comment to automatically be entered into our contest to win a free Echo Show.