Gabi Lowe on protecting vulnerable children during the lockdown

Gabi and Jenna Lowe
Gabi and Jenna Lowe

Not so long ago I nursed my own vulnerable child for many years trying to avoid infection whilst she awaited a double lung transplant.

The Covid-19 coronavirus has catapulted us back into the world of hand sanitiser, continual hand washing and cleaning with constant vigilance and caution.

It is all too familiar and reminds me viscerally of the particular fear that parents of vulnerable children face that must be even more severe right now. 

Since losing our 13-year-old niece and 20-year-old daughter, Authentic Resilience became a passion of mine. Two years ago I joined forces with Pippa Shaper to co-author a model called The Ten R’s of Authentic Resilience ©.

The very first “R” in the model speaks about facing up to REALITY.

You simply cannot get out of the starting blocks in terms of Authentic Resilience if you don’t face the brutal truth, the facts.

Finding the balance between denial and drama so that you can access a state of realistic optimism is vital.

Don’t make assumptions but equally don’t get drawn in by dramatic narratives that play over and over in your mind.

This really is a time to face up to the most brutal of facts so that you can, with hope, be prepared and ready to prevail and protect your family no matter what. 

Protecting the vulnerable at home

Either do your shopping online or get someone to do it for you, and when supplies are delivered spray the package down lightly with a solution one third bleach and two thirds water and leave outdoors for a while.

Those in good health find self-isolation challenging, but it is likely to be more so for those with loved ones with compromised physical, mental or emotional health as you will find yourself handling a multitude of complexities right now over and above the norm. 

Take extra precautions

Keeping your home environment risk-free will be imperative. 

You may well have to venture out to access doctors and medications, do so only when absolutely necessary and take extra precautions such as don’t wait in the waiting room.

Let your doc know you are waiting in your car until they are ready to see you.

Of course, you may experience trouble accessing medical supplies so be sure to order in advance and be pedantic about keeping track of your stock.

Mind map all your particular needs and risks and then work out solutions together as a family so that you can remain as isolated as possible. 

The airplane drill

And very importantly in this time of extra risk and stress please remember the airplane drill.. to put the oxygen mask on yourself first. It is vital right to take your own self-care seriously so that you can stay the distance.

Even 15 minutes of time-out for self-reflection can make a difference to your emotional state. Find creative ways to keep your stress levels manageable.

Enough sleep (yes, a full 8 hours a night), regular exercise, time outside in fresh air and good nutrition are important basics but rituals such as journaling, breath work, meditation, creative activities and yoga practice or light stretching will help too. 

Allowing stress or panic to take hold will only lower your immunity.

Something that helps is staying fully present – focus on the task at hand, be measured and focused, don’t get lost in story-telling and fear-mongering. 

It is important to stay informed … but only through credible sources. Consider: 

• Hotlines: Coronavirus hotline (Open 24/7) call centre 0800 029 999

• Websites:  NICD or Mediclinic website has credible stats and a self-assessment form

You may also at this time need to access some Robust Revolutionary Thinking (the 5th R in our model) around chronic treatments for your child.

  • Is there a way that treatment can take place at your home in a safer more controlled environment?
  • Do you need to crowdfund to help you through these trying times?
  • Do you need a Skype session with your doctors to get their input?

Now is the time to find new and novel ways to do things, don’t limit your thinking – be creative and ask for help.

Most definitely get yourself set up with ways to work and communicate remotely – this is going to be essential for a long time – and tap into those around you. They may just have some great ideas.  

Gabi Lowe is author of best-seller Get ME To 21. She is also an Integral Life Coach Resilience Coach and Co-founder of The Resilience Factory, and Co-Author of The Ten R’s of Authentic Resilience Model © 

Chat back:

Share your story with us, and we could publish your mail. Anonymous contributions are welcome.

WhatsApp: Send messages and voicenotes to 066 010 0325

Email: Share your story with us via email at chatback @

Sign up for Parent24's newsletters.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
6% - 136 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
82% - 1924 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
12% - 281 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.