This article was published in the May 2020 Helping Seniors of Brevard Newsletter, printed in Senior Scene Magazine.
Sitting down to write, in the early stages of the stay at home order in April, it is difficult to know how to direct this article. My hope is that by May when this appears in the Helping Seniors Newsletter, we will be well on our way to “normalcy.” What our new normal is remains to be seen, but I hope for the best. One thing I have learned from this pandemic is that we must remain hopeful but prepare for the curve balls life throws our way.
COVID 19 Highlights the Need to Prepare
One of the many reasons why I devote time to Helping Seniors of Brevard is their mission to educate our seniors, help them prepare, and to create a plan. Never has this been needed more than when COVID 19 came to be. As citizens of this incredible country, we wanted our federal, state, and local governments to have a plan to keep our citizens safe and informed. We wanted our health system to have backups in place; to be prepared.
To be fair, we as individuals and families must also have a plan, to stay informed and prepare the best we can. This has been something of a “soap box” issue for me since starting Seniors Helping Seniors in 2012. We prepare for retirement, but we do not have a picture of what 85 will look like. Will I move to an assisted living? Will I stay at home? Move back north to be with family? Who will help me if I need it?
No one could have predicted this pandemic, the extent or scope. We have already responded to many calls for help. Seniors with no local family, afraid to venture to the store and no means to order online. Others who relied on friends to take them to the doctor or grocery, but now the friends are too scared to go out. Private caregivers who stopped providing services because they needed to stay home with their children or were exposed to the virus. With no back up plan or knowledge of resources, these seniors were suffering. We helped by running groceries, finding TP donations, and working with Kim at HSOBC to know what local nonprofits were still able to respond during the crisis.
Once this is over, we need a moment to heal. To hug people again and let the light shine in. And then I encourage seniors to have a plan, then create a back-up plan. Know the resources in your area. Develop a relationship with a licensed home health agency, visit independent and assisted living facilities. Have your financial and legal paperwork in order. I hope we never see the likes of this again. But if we do, let’s put ourselves in the best possible position for success.