For many years, May has been the month to honor the older Americans in our community and give voice to the issues they face. But unlike past Older Americans Months, this is one where everyone is experiencing a taste of what many older Americans face every single day.
Home isolation, lack of access to common food and supplies, and not being able to visit loved ones are just a few of the setbacks that we all have had to face due to COVID-19. Fortunately for most of us, living with these precautions is a temporary phase of life, no matter how long it seems.
Nevertheless, imagine if you could never go back to life before the coronavirus. Imagine you weren’t able to get around as well as you once could, and felt forgotten. That is what many of LifeCare Alliance’s older-adult clients experienced before the pandemic, and it is how they are going to live after it is over. In many ways, their lives have gotten harder since precautions have taken place.
Older Americans are among the most vulnerable populations that can have devastating effects if they contract the coronavirus. The social distancing requirements have been challenging for clients, volunteers, and LifeCare Alliance staff because the normal interactions that happen from meal deliveries to wellness checks and homemaking visits can’t happen like they did before. For some of our clients, the interaction they have with a Meals-on-Wheels driver or home health aide might be the only interaction with another person that day.
Despite these realities, LifeCare Alliance has received many notes of gratitude from our older adult clients thanking the staff, supporters, and volunteers for continuing to serve them during the pandemic. With all of the fear and uncertainty running rampant, these notes and other exchanges have inspired LifeCare Alliance to join the call in encouraging older adults to #MakeYourMark during the month of May.
If you are the relative or neighbor of an older adult, LifeCare Alliance asks you to reach out to them to help them make their mark. Older Americans, how can you make your mark? It can be as simple as writing a letter to a friend or relative and tell them what you love about them, or be as involved as sharing a favorite book, poem, or passage to a loved one by video chat or phone. You could try posting stories on social media, or collecting your thoughts and memories in a journal that you can share at a later time. Maybe set up a time with a neighbor to have a chat over the fence or at least from six feet apart.
No matter how you choose to #MakeYourMark this Older Americans Month, please know that LifeCare Alliance is here to honor, serve, and help you through this time and beyond. Here’s to making this May one of the most memorable Older Americans Months ever! #OAM2020