For more than two years, COVID has been our constant companion. That’s certainly true for all of us and has even more resonance in the world of aging services. From March 2020 until now, we have lived with anxiety and pressure.  We’ve known great hope as vaccines became a reality and we’ve seen that tempered as the virus continued to mutate, surge and wane.

In the early days of COVID, when our knowledge base was in its embryonic state, many of our staff became ill with the virus.  Thankfully, all survived but nearly everyone lost friends or loved ones.  We all grieved over the elders we care for who lost their lives to COVID and continue to be grateful that we were able to save so many.

Many of us, myself included, were exposed to COVID in those early days. Testing was not available except at community sites and we had no way to know whose cough was “allergies” and whose was COVID until they finally got the test results, often days later.  If you didn’t have clear symptoms, you just kept going.  And we did.

Today, however, I am working from home, having tested positive for COVID.  I thought my symptoms were just those of a spring cold but I wondered if it might be more.  And when it turned out I had been exposed, I had to test.  The last thing I would ever want to do is expose others.

I am not happy, of course, to have this diagnosis.  But I am so appreciative of the fact that it is now and not two years ago.  I am grateful that, having been both vaccinated and boosted, this is just a minor inconvenience and not a major health issue.  Our COVID enemy has not been vanquished, our desire to have it finally become “just a memory” seems unlikely to occur but we do know how to control it, how to keep people well and how to help them heal.  It is a perspective I might not have had without living through the last two years, but one that is very clear to me today.

About the Author
Carol Silver Elliott is President and CEO of The Jewish Home Family, which runs NJ's Jewish Home at Rockleigh, Jewish Home Assisted Living, Jewish Home Foundation and Jewish Home at Home. She joined The Jewish Home Family in 2014. Previously, she served as President and CEO of Cedar Village Retirement Community in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is past chair of LeadingAge and the Association of Jewish Aging Services.
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