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Dad Will Not Wear a Mask



"My father simply does not wear a mask. He is 85 years old and in so-so health. He definitely isn’t what you would call healthy. 

For some reason, he feels that masks are silly. Meanwhile, he hangs out at the local VFW post with his buddies, goes grocery shopping, and spends time with his five children. 

Nothing in the news influences him. He believes COVID is overblown in the media and not real. Luckily for him, no one in his circle has yet been affected. What is a daughter to do?"



My short answer is to wait. Someone in his circle is likely to get COVID and he will see firsthand the impact of this disease on the elderly. Hopefully, it will not result in his death or the death of a friend or family member. This is an awful solution, but it may be the only one that will alter his behavior.

Your father is likely an individual who doesn’t fear what he can’t see. He has lived 85 years with that motto and survived, so he feels that if it has worked thus far, there’s no reason to change. His theory is shortsighted and doesn’t take into account something as small as a virus. I’m guessing that he has not studied the history of infectious diseases, and is not old enough to remember the Spanish flu of 1918, or he’d have a different perspective.

There is not too much that you can do to influence your father if his mind is strongly set. His future is in his hands and you may need to accept his opinion even if it differs from your own. 

What you should do is continue to wear a mask when in his presence. Keep your distance from him.  Provide your father with information that demonstrates how masks decrease the chance of virus transmission. This page from the CDC website offers information and 20 mask studies: Don’t drop your guard when you’re around your father, as he may be more likely to infect you than the reverse. 

Sometimes in life, we must do what we can and then walk away. Your father is in charge of his destiny, not you. That he is not heeding the advice of medical professionals is not your responsibility. I do realize that it is difficult to watch others make what we believe are poor choices. This is not likely the first or last time you will disagree on a course of action. I hope you can remain a supportive child and a support to him throughout this journey of life.