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The Solar Eclipse and Your Senior

The upcoming solar eclipse is a marvellous opportunity to discuss science and recall memories of eclipses past. Mark the date April 8 on your calendar; that’s the day of the total solar eclipse. The next one will be on August 23, 2044, so this may be the last opportunity for your senior to experience this phenomenon in which the sky will darken as if it were dawn or dusk.
Explain the corona which is normally not visible. It’s the sun’s outer atmosphere and it’s not usually visible because the sun’s surface below it is so much brighter.  When the moon completely blocks the visible surface of the sun during a total eclipse, viewers can see the corona if they are in the path of totality.
Check the maps to see the path of the eclipse and where it will hit your area. This is a rare event. Make it memorable for your senior.
Safety first. Eclipse glasses must be worn to protect the eyes even while watching the partial phases before and after totality. Do not use eclipse glasses together with other optical devices. Don’t use it for more than three minutes at a time. You can do this intermittently for several hours. Direct viewing of the sun can cause permanent damage if the proper precautions are not taken.
Make sure to have sunscreen and a hat as well as plenty of food and drinks. A reliable weather app is useful. A camera with fully charged camera batteries and extra SD cards would be useful too.
You can have the senior and the aide decorate the home in advance of this special occasion. They can take photos of each other in their glasses and hats.
Create a scrapbook and/or oral history project with your senior about past eclipses. Prepare by checking dates of the pas complete eclipses. Go over with your parents where s/he lived at that time. Write down their memories. Type them up and put them into a scrapbook with photos of that place during that year or exact time. Add this year’s photos, of course.
As always, try to include others in the occasion. Call friends and family before and after to check in with them to see how it went. Invite neighbors to join you and have a party. Watch it on TV. Read more about it. Have fun and make it memorable.

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About the Author

Faigie Horowitz

Faigie Horowitz

Faigie Horowitz, MS serves as director of communication at Caring Professionals. She advocates for the senior population on the state level and writes about senior and caregiver issues. She is a columnist for several periodicals. She has spent decades in nonprofit management and serves as a lay leader and founder of several community organizations.

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