Aging in Place: September 2021

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    Remember this image from a column a year+ ago when masks were mandatory? Then, for a month or so this summer after 15 months of wearing masks, we took them off. We could see smiling faces, stand and sit closer together, speak more clearly and not have to raise our voices to be heard, no more foggy glasses. We could hug and give a handshake instead of an elbow, wave or fist bump. Did it feel like we were celebrating or were we still cautious? Probably a bit of both.

    Now we are back to being cautious as the health news we see, hear and read often times changes by the hour. Does it seem more overwhelming again, stressful, tiring, worrisome? Are we angry that we are going backwards, scared, complacent, idealistic that it will go away sooner than later? Or do we say ‘It is what it is’ so just deal with it and do the right thing? What is the right thing?

    I’m confident that I did what was right for me by being vaccinated, wearing my mask and social distancing. I can’t tell you to be vaccinated but I can ask if you are or not and then decide if I should/could be around you. And you can do the same with me. I am not offended if asked if I’m vaccinated. I’m okay wearing a mask again, even with foggy glasses. 

    A short, true story that happened recently…I have a friend, fully vaccinated and cautious, who was on a business trip in another state. She assumed that with the rising COVID numbers with the Delta variant, that people would be masking in other places. Much to her dismay, there were very few masks worn in the hotel, meetings and restaurants and acknowledges that while she wore her mask, it wasn’t every minute. She said she felt more comfortable in the airport and on the plane because masks were mandated than in the city she was visiting. Fast forward to three days after her return and she became a statistic: a breakthrough positive COVID test as a fully vaccinated senior. Thankfully, she was not very sick, more like cold or flu symptoms, because she is vaccinated. She was quarantined for two weeks, masked in her home and recovered. It may sound minimal but it wasn’t – you don’t want to be a statistic.

    The point to my friend’s story is we don’t know if we have been exposed, by whom or where. It can happen to any of us. Even if you are vaccinated, let’s be vigilant, not let our guard down, be respectful of others, be cautious, aware and informed. Don’t become a statistic. Protect yourself first and thank you for protecting those around you.


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