Being Elderly Alongside Covid-19

What would it be like to be a prime target of COVID-19?  As already deemed a high risk, you may now be dealing with health problems or at least recognize that your health could be compromised.  With this, you could likely experience heightened anxiety and fearful thoughts of any potential signs of the virus, such as getting a spiked temperature or an unexpected cough.  You also may be much more alert to those that might expose the virus to you, and in turn isolate as a safeguard. The anxiety and fear become monumental in its own right, and the prime target could become overcome with a sense of demise.

And then, what would it be like to be a prime target of COVID-19, and be in a facility residing with other residents who not only have been or could be exposed themselves, but also by the staff taking care of you?  Each and every uncertainty is present while anxiety and fear can be compounded with daily reminders from the 24/7 news breaks, social media, practicing social distance inside the facility through meal isolation, staff masks and goggles, and then being even more isolated from outside visitors in accordance to government safety practices,

It could become too much to bear for some if they allowed themselves to focus only on the risks.  It would be easy to allow such anxiety to overload anyone with these fears.  Emotions can definitely take a toll on anyone if they allowed it.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has spread in various nursing homes and other residential facilities in the country.  However, the precautions taken to ward off any chance of transmission has been monumental.  All the safeguards installed readily display the enormity of this effort.  Hats go off to those that have worked so hard to ensure the best possible outcome for these individuals.

And, hats go off to all those that have been able to muster themselves enough to manage this whole ordeal.  They have had to come to a place within themselves that has moved beyond what they cannot control, and take each moment as it comes – again, one of the hallmarks of being elderly.  Let’s all take pride in our elderly and learn from their wisdom and insight.

Claudia A. Liljegren, MSW, LICSW