A Different Kind of Senior Perspective

Jessica Goode, Staff Writer

It is no secret that COVID-19 is a dangerous virus that has put citizens across the world at risk, but one group that is especially at risk is the elderly. As the number of Americans who have died exceeds 137,000, many elderly have disproportionately passed away because of this virus.

COVID-19 has made the elderly extra careful about doing regular activities, such as walking in town or going to the grocery store on a regular basis. My grandmother, 82-year-old Diana Goode, or Babee, as our whole family calls her, is one of the seniors who has curtailed her activities due to the novel Coronavirus. Babee lives in the New Hampshire countryside and is five minutes away from beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee. She tells me that she feels very lucky that she does not live in cities such as New York City. The countryside does not have a lot of people and of course it is less crowded, but COVID-19 is still a threat in New Hampshire.

Her routine has changed as the virus has become worse across the United States. “I thought this was going to be a piece of cake,” Babee said. She is used to the hushed countryside and a few visitors coming every week to visit and talk. But when my aunt, uncle and cousins stopped visiting frequently, it started to bother her. She feels lonely and wants some social interaction. Thankfully all of us talk to her on the phone during the week and weekends and tell her the miscellaneous activities we have been doing.

When Babee goes to the store she feels sort of scared now. She doesn’t dwell in the grocery store checking out the latest products. Things like going to her regularly scheduled hair appointments don’t happen anymore or going to regular check-ups at the doctor’s office. A trip to the bank involves going through a drive-through and when she does go inside she has to wear a mask, which she says is uncomfortable. Babee has even seen the difference in how people are acting: “There was this lady in the frozen food aisle who was looking for ice cream. I wanted ice cream too, so I started to walk over in the same direction and the lady looked at me and glared. She became angry and walked away. I was not wearing a mask at the time. At first I thought she was being rude but when I got home I pondered the whole situation and remembered that I was getting very close to her and probably made her uncomfortable.”

At the time, Babee did not know the severity of the virus, but as my Uncle Steve was telling her more information and the rules that go along with social distancing protocols, she took into account how she must now act in public. “They’re doing it for you,” Babee said, in discussing people who wear masks and social distance. She sees that the younger people care and keep their distance, even if at first glance their distancing can across as rude at the time. Babee, much like all of us, wants this pandemic to end. Moreover, she hopes that when the vaccine comes out everyone will accept it and use it. Babee remembers the chicken pox, measles and mumps scares but nothing could compare to the COVID-19 pandemic. She hopes to never go through something like this ever again.

Even though she is lonely and wishes that visitors could come more often; she looks forward to other activities throughout the day. “Taking a walk and noticing nature, going to the lake and seeing the boats out and about. I also enjoy working outside in the garden.” Who wouldn’t enjoy a nice tranquil walk in the woods and breathing in fresh, crisp air? And finally the first thing Babee will do when the virus is over is go to her favorite restaurants. “I won’t go to the restaurant if I have to wear that uncomfortable mask.” Most of all, if the virus is over soon, the whole family can come up to New Hampshire and celebrate Thanksgiving with her as we always do, and share stories about our experiences and maybe have a laugh or two.