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What Lies Ahead

Source: Jewish Home Family
Source: Jewish Home Family

As the 2021 year approached, I remember saying that I could not wait for 2020 to be over.  In fact, my New Year’s words were not so much “Happy New Year” as “Finally 2021.”  The end of 2020 was a time of great hope that the worst of COVID-19 was behind us, that vaccines were going into arms and that we would return to “normal” in 2021.

Of course we know that our hopes for 2021 were unfounded.  Yes, we celebrated vaccination clinics for our staff and our elders and felt that the light had come back on in a time of darkness.  But this virus was clearly not finished with us and even now, fully a year later, we continue to fight this battle.  There was no magic last year in turning that December 31 calendar page and it does not appear that there will be any magic this year either.

Yet we are in a far better place than we were just a year ago.  Those of us who are vaccinated clearly are able to fight the virus, often will minimal illness.  Vaccines are fully available as well as booster doses and children have also been able to receive this protection.  While we know it is not over, we finally have some effective weapons in this war, weapons that we only prayed for and hoped in 2020.

When I think about the year ahead, it is not under the heading of “finally” but more along the lines of “staying the course.”  We have all learned so much from these past two years.  For those of us who work with older adults we have learned that we can push past our fears to continue to care for those who rely on us.  We have learned that we are stronger and more resourceful than we ever thought possible.  We found a measure of resilience we didn’t even know we possessed as we have come back and come back and come back again, each time with renewed commitment and unwavering passion.

Whatever 2022 holds, we will face it head-on and we will continue on our path to care for elders, to preserve and improve their health and to help them identify and achieve purpose, regardless of their age and stage of life.  The scars of the last two years are there and we acknowledge them but they do not keep us from standing tall and resolute, ready for whatever the future holds.

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 chair-elect of LeadingAge and past chair of the Association of Jewish Aging Services.
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