Now 2020 has been much maligned for its impact on the world due to pandemic conditions, lock downs, and work from home the good and bad. Virtual school was one option, as parents acknowledged teachers are to be commended for sustaining a young person’s interest in learning, teaching math, science, art etc., and the parent has become a multi-tasked entity.
The Parent has added school facilitator, tech support for various devices, shipping agent, supplies coordinator, chief cook and bottlewasher, day care, night companion, spouse, child to elder parents and very possibly an essential worker. Phew no wonder so many are tired, of course more concerning is the mental health issues and reports of increased (and not seen) domestic abuse. Physical distancing may not be possible for many due to the number of residents in a dwelling, size of living quarters, equity issues aka finances, language, gender, COVID-19 status etc.
Of course 2020 was a blessed period for those reunited with relatives, couples who were married, new parents who welcomed a new life whether four legged or a human baby, the use of technology to stay connected with friends and family. Facebook, though freaky in how it flows advertising specifically to you, was a platform to share gardens, baking, breadmaking, artistic attempts, cooking failures, inspirational quotes, photos of positivity, and COVID-19 commentary.
The ZOOM platform was a relative unknown a short time ago, now it’s an essential tool to conduct business, meetings, hold holiday parties, and we’re all familiar with freezing, muted microphones, passwords failing, and now we know more names of acquaintances as their names are right on the screen. Though I have seen some nicknames and strange backgrounds–outer space anyone?
COVID-19 tragedy has impacted us as we wince at every death, in Canada over 80% occurred in Long Term Care (StatCan May 2020). The profile of frail elders, the synergy of older designed homes, and key caregivers prevented entry to the homes. The impact of delayed procedures, assessments, the death toll related to safety issues i.e. PPE shortages, not enough staff to provide the level of care needed. One death too many is tragic, to have thousands is an outrage. As one Twitter post mentioned when another home goes into outbreak status no one gets outraged, but if multiple planes crashed with similar frequency the response would be swift. Dare we say that elders, those with special needs are not worth the effort. How sad that our community has not pounded on Queen’s Park doors to roar at the politicians “Why?”
Why would seniors be left in their own urine and feces for hours?
Why would seniors not be fed their meals?
Why would seniors not be able to see any family as they take their last breaths?
Why has the 4 hour basic care guarantee not been initiated immediately?
The evidence for long term care to be improved has been disseminated in over 30 reports, white papers, commissions, the time for action was “yesterday”, as many mourn their loved ones premature deaths. The health care system is in need of a major overhaul, the various levels of government need to prioritize this massive undertaking. We have much at risk; potential for more pandemic episodes, quality care further degraded, and more lives lost/taken due to a lack of leadership and courage.
Gloomy view I agree but that is what is needed in these trying times, staying home for lockdown is a small price to protect the vulnerable ones and to mediate the impact on health resources. To essential workers everywhere thank you for your service, and hope you can receive a hug to usher in the New Year. Namaste.
Registered Nurse Storyteller, Healer, Scribe, Transformational Leader
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