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Column: Revisiting the role of seniors

Age Friendly Committee of Olds Institute

Since the onset of COVID-19 have you questioned why you have not learned or tried to learn a second language, or at least a musical instrument?  

Or why your cupboards, walls, etc. are not all cleaned?  

Instead of guilt, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) advises us to acknowledge the sense of fear or worry that COVID-19 may produce.  

Once our fears are identified, a sense of self-acceptance could become our pandemic priority.  

Recently a ‘’somewhat retired” United Church minister interviewed on TV, suggested the ‘senior’s role’ in our society needs to be revisited.  

He further suggested this challenge was so important to our society, that we should explore how our Indigenous communities treasure their elders – and/or even consider having a Royal Commission to examine seniors’ role in our society.  

The challenges the world is experiencing because of the COVID-19 pandemic is outside anything we know and has no easily identified end in sight.  

The result of the unknown can create feelings of depression and/or anxiety.

Strategies to help protect both our mental and physical health can include the reduction of constant news consumption, seeking credible news sources about COVID-19 and setting boundaries on our news consumption.

Learning about and understanding as much as we can about COVID-19 helps us develop a sense of control to the drastic changes in this new life.  Questions such as “why do I need to change my life?  I don’t know anyone with this disease” or “everyone is over-reacting - no one in my town has the disease” need an answer.  

We still may not agree with solutions proposed by disease experts and governments, but we can relate to their concerns and solutions.  

We do need to practise social distancing and hand washing even now, maybe not to protect ourselves personally, we hope, but to protect our health-care system.  
If we have heart attacks or suffer injuries in a car accident, we want to be sure both the health personnel and their equipment are available to treat us.  

The numbers of medical personnel required to treat one person on a ventilator may be significant.  

Think of the stress that those health professionals suffer when caring for even one person suffering from serious, life-threatening COVID-19 symptoms.  

We hope they are not suffering from PTSD when they need to treat us or our families.  

We have heard of or read about the transmission of the virus in closed environments such as nursing homes or even in communities by one person.  

You may be fortunate enough to never be a COVID-19 victim, but others you know, may be a victim.  

They may never know the cause of their illness.  Was it the door handle in the grocery store? Was it when they laughed at a joke? There remains so much unknown about this virus, we are filled with unanswered questions.  

There remains so much unknown about this virus, we can only be thankful if no one we personally know never is its victim.       

This pandemic and the restrictions required by the medical officers of health to combat it, results in most people experiencing some form of grief.  

Symptoms of grief can include being easily irritated, unable to sleep, difficulty focusing, and experiencing deep tiredness.

In addition to grief, we may experience sadness and loss.

It is recommended that we take a very few minutes to really feel our emotions and not to deny them.  

After approximately two minutes, we are often able to feel a balance in our feelings.  This process may result in our personal growth – maybe even more than cleaning closets!   

Age Friendly Commitee of Olds Institute