It’s safe to say that none of us want to experience life as it was lived in 2020 ever again.
We missed our friends and family during the era of “social distancing.” In the short term, most of us could handle the loneliness. But as the pandemic wore on, we found that Zoom meetings and virtual happy hours, at first novel and fun, were a very poor substitute for authentic human connection and became tiresome and annoying. We grew frustrated with the monotony of a limited life. Netflix binges, family game nights and jigsaw puzzles eventually lost their appeal.
Most of us are tired of rehashing what life was like during pandemic lockdowns, but there are important lessons to be learned. Sadly, not everyone has the option for a life filled with purpose, autonomy, and variety. What we experienced during 2020 is the life many older adults living alone in their homes or institutional care settings experience every day – both before and after the pandemic. COVID lockdowns gave younger Americans an unpleasant taste of the “medicine” that millions of elders swallow every day.
We learned lessons during the height of COVID that we can — and should — apply to older Americans. The time is now!
What would it take to have older people live where they wish without becoming socially isolated? What would it take for older people to be viewed as valuable members of a society that desperately needs their lived experiences and knowledge? What would it take for those receiving care in congregate settings to have lives filled with purpose, meaningful relationships, and, dare we say it, joy?
Read the full article, If You Hated 2020, You’re Going to Despise Old Age, authored by Nexus Insights’ Fellows Jill Vitale-Aussem, Caroline Pearson, and Dr. Bill Thomas, on LinkedIn, and join the #NexusVoices conversation.
What do you think we have learned? How can we improve the future of aging in America?
About the Authors
Jill Vitale-Aussem, President & CEO of Christian Living Communities, and Nexus Fellow, has over two decades of boots-on-the-ground senior living leadership experience, transforming organizations by creating age-positive, ability-inclusive community cultures of growth, belonging and purpose.
Caroline Pearson’s deep understanding of public and private health insurance informs new financing models that leverage healthcare dollars to fund non-medical support for older adults. Caroline is the Executive Director of The Peterson Center on Healthcare, and a Nexus Fellow.
Dr. Bill Thomas, Nexus Fellow, founder of The Eden Alternative, The Green House Project and Minka is a serial creator of scalable models and an innovator in the field of housing and services for older people. He brings to Nexus his belief that people, properly equipped and prepared, can solve the most difficult problems of living.
- Problems We’ve Ignored for Too Long: A Hearing on the Impact of COVID In Nursing Homes
- Strategies For Reducing Isolation Among Solo Agers
- America’s Long-Term Care Infrastructure: A Road to Nowhere – Op-ed in the Hill Co-Authored by Nexus Insights
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