The state of our frail elderly

So, I was in the nursing homes today, and saw all those people you are working SO HARD to protect.

I thought I’d let you know how they are doing.

Most are frail with debility and dementia. Usually an otherwise mundane existence is broken up by social activities and interactions with each other. Even with poor cognitive skills they thrived on a structured day. Many with dementia and the lonely were oriented by daily visits of family and the ones they love.

For their protection, they are all now confined to their rooms. No outsiders are allowed to visit. No social activities or gatherings for meals. You’d be happy to know they are securely sequestered from your runny nose and juicy cough. All safe and tucked in, stuck in the rooms with their meals brought to them by masked faces.

They wonder what happened to their families and why no one visits anymore. They wonder why they can’t dine with their friends and familiars.

They wonder why they are being punished?

But we know better and know what is best for them. There is a big, bad infection and somebody in the county had it.

This is for their own good, we explain. We even shut down EVERY aspect of our lives, and shut down all civilization to give them this protection. They should be more grateful and not complain.

Luckily some don’t complain. They are on hospice in their last days but far too sick for home caretakers. Well, we can’t have family members in to share those last days because that would be so dangerous for everyone, you know. Got to remember, this is dangerous to old people and we have spared no expense to make sure no sniffles get anywhere near them.

Some have been there several years – through influenza seasons, norovirus outbreaks, MRSA in their roommate, C Diff in the next room, VRE in their catheter. Heck! Even CRKP from India. The cleanest one around them was the therapy dog!

But despite beating the 14% to 30% pneumonia fatality odds every year they would like to extend their gratitude for you giving up your jobs, education, and lifestyle so that they can be locked away so snug as a bug. This 14% fatality COVID-19 virus is special. We know that because that is what we are being told. It is special in a way most cannot comprehend.

Our elderly need protected from all those too inconsiderate to wash their hands properly or stay home with a fever. We can’t explain this to them in any meaningful way, but continue to assure them that this lockdown is for their own good and from our deep commitment to their quality of life. Of course they are not being punished, but, sorry, no outsiders are allowed in.

I personally wish to extend their thanks for all your sacrifices.

So, use creative measures to visit your loved ones. Visit outside their room’s window, use FaceTime, write them a letter, send them a card. Let them know you care and they are loved.

Dr. Sean M. Porbin