COVID 19 had an impact on all of our lives. It has come in and left us distraught and having to change complete lifestyles. It has effected every section of society and every age group. One of the age groups it has severely effected are the elderly, especially those living within residential homes who have for the last fifteen months been through a number of measures which have kept them from their loved ones and from being together.
It was therefore a great relief to the elderly within these homes, their relatives and those caring for them that some of the measures were last week released by public health with the aim of working towards “normality”. These measures were received with joy and relief by those who have suffered the brunt of their implementation. Isolation from friends within the same Home, eating alone in the room, not socilaising as before, having Perspex separate you from loved ones. It meant that the elderly in Homes could now mingle and not only have to meet with those of their same floor, that they could eat in the dining room with others and see their loved ones who visited them without Perspex dividing them. This did not mean that things were back to normal. Social distancing with those visiting still has to be maintained, and the elderly still cannot touch or hug their loved ones. Infection control still remains high on the agenda and so visitors still have to follow strict infection control protocols like hand sanitising and temperature taking. But it gives hope. It gives these elderly who have suffered depression and isolation hope that their last years will not be spent away from loved ones. It gave hope that maybe there is a light at the end of a tunnel that has been so dark for so long.
At Simblija Carehome we wanted to celebrate the day these new measures came into place. We decorated the dining room and put up a “Welcome Back” banner, we welcomed back relatives and loved ones through purposely, dignified areas where they could see and hear their elderly relatives well and safely. We organised activities within the Home to bring residents together once more. It brought tears to the staffs’ eyes to see that activities often taken so foregranted welcomed with such relief. We all breathed a bit better. A sigh of relief from the tiredness of coping with this situation tirelessly, now for so many months.
We all hope that this is the start of new beginnings. We all hope that these are the first steps to getting our lives back. We all hope we can see our elderly live the last years of their lives being hugged and enjoying the outdoors. But it still depends on every single one of us. We cannot put our guard down at this stage. We still need to be careful. Every illegal gathering, every illegal party, every breach of rules set by public health has the potential of throwing us back into the abyss. It has the potential that we enter a tunnel of darkness which we cannot see the end of. We are all tired, we are all fed up but that does not justify us being irresponsible or carless. Impatience cannot be the cause of our elderly living this life of isolation. It would be a tragedy if it was. This is why as people caring for the vulnerable we get angry and upset every time we see or hear about a breach, worse still with some people putting this down to impatience. What about the front liners, the nurses working in ICU, the health care professionals who have lived this more than anyone else? How impatient should they be? Maybe they should just call it a day, throw in the towel and just leave us to our selfishness and egoism?
So before you do anything remember the pain and suffering endued during these months. The people that died because of this virus. The scars that this pandemic will leave on so many households and people, some physical and some psychological. Before you refuse to wear that mask, or think its ok to go to a party or meet in a gathering decide if you want this to be over or you want the pain and suffering to continue. Some health care workers have seen enough suffering to last a lifetime. They never asked for anything back, just that we act responsibly. The elderly followed all the rules and regulations. They never asked for anything back, just for us to act responsibly. We really owe them just that.
AX Care General Manager