It was clear from the start that COVID-19 could be deadly for the elderly. I remember having hard conversations with my 84-year-old mother about what this would mean for her life over the coming year. We could not bear the idea of something happening to her. She is a vivacious woman with longevity in her family and we all want her to be with us for another 20 years. We had begun taking precautions in March, with social distancing at work and delivering her groceries to her on the weekend. Despite the texting, I knew my mom was lonely she was longing for human contact. So we devised a way to celebrate Easter in our backyard without her coming near us or coming in the house. It was strange and wonderful, and worth it for us to be together. Eventually, she fixed up her own patio with two tables set far apart so that we could visit her for dinner, also keeping our distance. For younger generations, a year and a half of quarantine is hard but not insurmountable. We felt lucky to have our jobs and not be facing economic hardship. But when you are closer to the end of your life, withdrawing from society for such a long time is a bigger loss. I think at that age, you know how precious the years are. Now, in June, my mom has ventured out three times – two doctors appointments and a haircut. She will not join us on a trip to the Sierras, and she’s not allowed to visit my dad/her husband in his care home. Because his brain is failing him, he does not know anything about COVID-19 or why his loved ones can only visit him on the screen of a telephone. We are not sure we will see him again before he passes away, which is very hard. But it’s just another way that COVID-19 has affected all if us.
Submitted by Amy Palmer, Sacramento County – Sacramento.