The arrival of the COVID vaccine to our shores has made a number of us sigh a breath of relief. For us working with the elderly, more, as we want to see an end to this. However at the back of everyone’s mind is the question of “What now?” “Where do we go from here?”
The launch of the COVID vaccine on the market was met with both relief and scaremongering. Some feel that it was developed in a rush without proper knowledge on its side effects, whilst others see it as salvation from a life which has become overridden by isolation, social distancing and masks. The latter has been seen more so by our elderly who since last March, have lived in isolation and away from the real world, sacrificing their social life and staying home, afraid of catching this dreadful disease. In homes around the island most of the elderly have now been vaccinated and so have the staff caring for them. The faces of hope which I saw getting the vaccine was at times like watching a child in a sweet shop and hope was tangible. However the reality is that this hope quickly went into array when the number of people infected in the country increased.
Our elderly have now been inside for over a year. They are restricted in visits and will spend another Easter away from their family and friends. It is no time to leave room for complacency and to put our guard down. The virus is still here and it is more aggressive than always. Every one of us has an obligation to safeguard ourselves and others. Yes we all want to party, we are all tired of staying indoors and not meeting friends, but we have to realise that the more we oppose and do our thing then the longer this will stay with us, and worse still the more the fatalities. The amount of depression and sadness in the elderly is tangible. They are suffering the brunt of it all. The frontliners have done their part too. They have worked endlessly throughout all this to care for patients notwithstanding their own fear, the risk to their own families, and the burnout of seeing constant suffering and pain. They do not need applause or a thank you on television or social media, they need concrete responsible action by each and every one of us. They need to know that whilst they do their best to protect the elderly, to care for the critical, people on the outside are doing their best to contain the spread of the virus.
There are no words to emphasize enough how much pain and suffering we have seen in this year within healthcare. Most of us will be scared for life. There are no words to explain how we felt when restrictions came into place yet again, the same time of year we were inside with our elderly on lockdown. Not only was the perspex separating relatives and the elderly not brought down, not only was normal life for our elderly not resumed, but we had to once more become more vigilant. So I beg everyone on one knee to please cooperate and do this sacrifice alongside all of us who have done so much to save the vulnerable, let us in a collective effort do this last lap to be able to gain quality of life for ourselves, for our frontliners and last but not least for our elderly.
Ms. Charmaine Montesin