Our Elderly during COVID-19

Dec 4, 2020

We are very grateful that so far none of our fifty adopted Holocaust survivors have been infected with COVID-19. However, it is clear that the pandemic has had a big impact on them. How are they managing to cope at this time? Here are a few examples that we have come across:

Rachel (not her real name) previously was very isolated and eagerly awaited our visits. But since the arrival of the coronavirus in March, Rachel has forced herself not to receive any visitors and has in fact not left her home. Her current world consists of the few square meters of her home, as she is so afraid that if she ventures forth she will contract the virus.

She says she chooses this self-quarantine because she doesn’t have anyone to take care of her if she should become ill. How sad! For us, it means keeping in touch with her as much as possible and making sure she has all the basic products she needs. After consultation with a soup kitchen, she now also receives hot meals and eagerly awaits her contact with the delivery lady at her door. We are looking forward to the day that Rachel is freed from her fear of the virus and we can give her that long-postponed hug.

We found a very different situation when visiting ‘Moshe’. He suffers from dementia and lives with his son who has a mild intellectual disability. For Moshe, it’s very strange that we wear masks and he asks regularly who we are and why we have that thing for our face. In his experience, there are no boundaries and no two-meter distance. It was therefore to be expected when he suddenly pressed me firmly against his chest 😊. If I were to visit him again tonight or tomorrow, he would have no knowledge of COVID-19, and that’s a good thing!

‘Eli’ is a 91-year-old Russian man who still lives for sports coaching. All of his time, attention, and energy are devoted to this. He is in contact daily with his students in Israel and Belarus Russia aided by an extra-large keyboard and a huge computer screen because he can no longer see so well. But he won’t think of giving up; transferring knowledge is his passion. COVID-19 or not, he’s going to continue to coach from home.

Here we see three very different situations in these strange and bizarre days!