I have to admit to feeling very upset today over the whole matter of how it is emerging so strongly that people in care homes are finding themselves caught in the horror of COVID19.
Most of my working life related to the experiences of people with disabilities and especially those who were living in residential care and later on I was very much involved with older people.
I think of all the fantastic individuals I have been so privileged to get to know through lengthy interviews and time spent staying in residential care settings.
It was always their individuality that struck me and not the shared fact of being in a category of ‘older person’ or ‘a person with a disability.’
Now it feels like the categorizations are back and the ‘people’ behind the walls of care homes are being half or more than half forgotten about as the rest of the world thinks about freedoms after lockdown.
Neither older age nor disability make a person any less of a precious human being than anybody else. Neither age nor disability strips a person of feelings, hopes, fears or love of life any more than anybody else.
Of all the people I think about today, my great-aunt Anna stands out. She was the bright romantic star who married for the first time, aged 72, and lived out her last years in a nursing home. Her short term memory wasn’t great but she was as loving, caring, full of fun as anyone I have ever known. At 89, she was game for anything and knew how to listen and advise in a most empathetic way. Age didn’t matter a damn to her, as she would put it.
I can’t bear to think of anyone being viewed as somehow less important than another but know in my heart that if this virus was posing a major threat to millions of children, it would be taking on a whole different aspect.
Obviously, I wouldn’t wish it on any child but I think we have to see our more vulnerable people, especially those in care homes, as being every bit as important and precious as a child and yes I know how precious they are too, even 6ft 3in ones!