“How The Covid-19 Situation Has Impacted Our Attitudes On Aging In Place”

Is this aging in place couple exhibiting the new normal as they wear face masks in their own home, or are we about to get past this experience and move onto the next phase in this adjustment cycle?

The COVID-19 virus has impacted our lives in many ways and caused us to rethink many of the things we have been accustomed to doing or experiencing. We are still learning how to adapt and proceed in this new era in which we find ourselves.

No one requested this change to the new order, and likely no one saw it coming – which means few, if any, of us were ready for it.  Oh sure, we may have had some paper goods and foodstuffs saved up in the pantry or made a run to the grocery when we first heard about this to beat the rush and come home with items while they were still on the shelves, but this says nothing about our emotional and psychological ability to change and adapt to what was going on around us – and still continues.

Having a few supplies to hold us for a while does not mean that we were ready for the shelter in place protocols or that we had any idea of what we were about to experience. For those of us who were able to lay up a few provisions, we weathered the stay at home directives better than those who were not so prepared. Just now, weeks later, stores are beginning to restock their shelves and beginning to look more like what we remember them being before all this happened.

There are going to be lots of changes to deal with. Some have already happened and some are in the process of happening. Establishments that we are accustomed to visiting may no longer operate because they can’t create an environment where social distancing or personal separation is maintained. There are some fast-food restaurants, movie theaters, other entertainment venues, and other types of establishments where food items are out in the open and not especially well protected and other businesses where close contact with others cannot be avoided.

No one knows how sporting events, parades, fairs, and other events that traditionally have thousands of people attending them are going to be allowed to continue or in what format we might witness them. They still might exist but in a much different way and with a considerably different look and feel – to the point that it may not be the same thing at all. In fact, we may not enjoy the experience and may not participate.

Some of us are of an age where staying at home during the day is just something we do. We aren’t working anymore outside the home, and giving up recreational activities, including visiting our favorite eating establishments, while unpleasant, is not something difficult for us to do. However, many people are still working and have been furloughed from their positions or asked to work from home – in ways they maybe hadn’t considered or weren’t accustomed to doing.

In fact, a new term has been coined “WFH” which means working from home, and many office supply stores, web sites, blogs, and self-help articles reference the WFH movement and provide products, tips, solutions, and discussion on how to make it happen.

Fortunately, this came at the end of the winter season, and many people we’re preparing for warmer weather so they could open their homes more and venture into their yards more than they could have just a few weeks earlier when it was quite a bit colder and snow was a real possibility. This also means that children, grandchildren, and pets in the home we’re not as uncomfortable as they might have been in colder weather since they could go outside more frequently.

We learned many things about ourselves in this recent experience. We found out things about our homes that maybe we hadn’t realized – places in them (rooms or parts of rooms) that were not as comfortable to be in as we may have imagined or places that we just didn’t use that much in our homes. We may have determined that there were some modifications that we should implement that would help us to enjoy our homes and be safer in them. Speaking of safety, we may have discovered many places in our homes with flooring, lighting, narrow passageways, or other areas that we had not given much thought to previously.

Until we spend a great deal of time in our homes (now by necessity rather than choice), rather than getting up leaving for the office and returning at night, we may be unaware of some of the shortcomings or weaknesses of our homes that we would like to repair or amend. This does not mean that our homes are bad or inadequate or that we wish to move on to something else as quickly as we can. It just means that as we are aging in place in those homes that we want to make them as comfortable, accessible, safe, and convenient as possible for us and people coming into our homes to be with us.

This Covid-19 experience has, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, a game-changer for the ways we see and use our homes.

Share with your friend and colleagues!