The pandemic turned the Golden Oldies years into the Golden Lonelies! The article on Spectrum news about seniors being hit by loneliness because of the pandemic hit me hard. For me, it was moving into a new state 4 months before the pandemic shut everything down. The new state was hard enough for an extrovert like me. I was planning on solving that problem by getting a part-time job since I was close to retirement age. Most of the friends I made over the years were with coworkers. The pandemic killed that idea. My husband and I are both high-risk, so, I decided to just wait it out and take early retirement.
Three years later, I haven’t made any new friends. I thank God we have friends living not too far away that we’ve had for decades and our daughter is up here too, or I’d go completely insane. (Confession, I’m close enough to it now.)
During all this, I realized that some of the people I called “friends” turned out to be not interested in anything more than what politically motivated them. They refused to wear a mask or understand what COVID was doing to people. They refused to get vaccinated. Why? Because their political leaders were saying it was all a hoax.
They were supposed to be “Christian” but apparently, anything that Jesus preached they should do, didn’t matter anymore. Lying and hating was Okie Dokie with them. They turned against people they pretended to care about, leaving people like me, not just dealing with the pandemic, but dealing with the loss of trust in everyone.
I still wear a mask shopping because when too many people were not wearing them when there was a mask mandate, now I wonder what kind of germs they’re running around with and not bothering to even cover their sneeze or mouth when they cough. Plus, I went for a checkup yesterday and they are still under mask mandates.
I think all of this, caused me to see people in a way I don’t like. I mean, not everyone is evil, selfish, despicable, or reprehensible, but there are a lot more than I ever thought there were.
Now that my therapist got me passed grieving for the loss of my friend to COVID, we’re working on getting me to want to be around people again. That will be great because it turns out, there are a lot more seniors like me not out there but are wanting to be.
The thing that cracked me up a bit about the article was the woman they interviewed said she filled up her days with reading. I filled them up with writing books. If you have PTSD, there are lessons in this article for you too because part of PTSD is isolation. It’s easy to lose trust in others when you have it and hard to gain it back but if you don’t try, it will never come back to you. Your therapist can help with that. Last night we went out for dinner and I got to hug some people again!
Aging in Upstate: Film addresses isolation and loneliness in New York before pandemic hitSpectrum
By Mark Goshgarian
Nov. 28, 2022
JAMESTOWN, N.Y. — “Reading. I did read,” said Louise Wiggers, 77, of Findley Lake in Chautauqua County.
That’s how she dealt with the isolation she felt during the pandemic. She even missed out on seeing her twin grandchildren in person for a year and a half.
“It was very difficult. And they changed a lot during that time, absolutely, they did. Yeah, it was hard. it was very, very difficult,” said Louise.
Isolated, but not lonely, she lives with her husband of 55 years, Kent.
“So, we weren’t seeing anyone, really. Even our neighbors because of our age and our being at risk,” said Louise.
The two spent hours watching their favorite TV shows and movies on BritBox, not knowing day to day just how long they would have to stay cooped up.
“It was frustrating. And you know, I think I would say I was a little bit angry about all of that, too,” said Louise.
Chautauqua County Office for the Aging recently hosted a screening at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown of the documentary “All the Lonely People,” which chronicles a cross-section of adults sharing their experiences living in isolation.
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#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife