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Many seniors deal better with pandemics than younger ones

There are many stories from many older Americans who have dealt with the pandemic as resiliently and confidently as my mother showed in the storm. My father’s cultural calendar far surpasses my own with Zoom lectures ranging from the cast of the Netflix miniseries “Unorthodox” to human rights activist Natan Sharansky, whom he watches in between Silver Sneakers practice classes, also from different locations to the comfort of his Living rooms are streamed.

Unlike teens and 20-year-olds who grew up with the immediate gratification of social media likes, 65-year-olds and older are more likely to wait and tolerate patience in ways that are common to many of us who are having a hard time That difficult is were done with this pandemic months ago.

The surveys of 25 open-ended questions on aging were distributed to social and residential facilities aimed at those 65 years of age and older and electronically shared nationwide with friends and family members of the respondents to capture a range of experiences from the elders. Of the over 200 people who took part in the surveys, almost everyone was very optimistic about their “general mood most days”, although they also acknowledged health concerns, due diligence and a certain degree of loneliness.

Research has also found that the majority of people around the world get happier as they age, possibly because they accept inevitable changes that occur over time and develop appreciation for the good that remains in their lives.

When Patrick Klaiber, a PhD student at the University of British Columbia, and colleagues collected daily surveys from people ages 1

8 to 91 during the pandemic, they found that older generations reported having the stress of Covid-19 caused by the novel coronavirus caused disease to deal with more effectively than those who are younger.

Other reports reveal similar data, including a study by investment firm Edward Jones and think tank Age Wave that looked at 9,000 people across five generations. The older study participants stated that the highest percentage of “very good” coping with covid-19 was found.

Part of this inequality can be explained by the fact that seniors often have fewer work-family conflicts than seniors with younger children. However, others acknowledge that life in the later years offers the prospect that difficult times will eventually pass, and that there is experience to draw on to help you stand up to difficulties and challenges.

For example, my uncle Lou, who has just turned 90, describes his survival in the Korean War at the age of 22 as a “crucial moment” that taught him to be “grateful” in order to be alive. He still remembers his four brothers who served in World War II, including one who was taken as a prisoner of war. Lou spent time listening to music and working on his autobiography during the pandemic. He commented, “We’ll take care of it [the pandemic] with a positive attitude. “

Emphasizing that many older people are surviving this pandemic does not mean minimizing the serious problems that affect them. More than 48,000 nursing home residents have died of Covid-19, and blacks and other people of color are disproportionately affected. Countless nursing homes still do not have adequate testing and the personal protective equipment required to keep staff and residents safe.

Isolation for people in senior care facilities was also increased during the pandemic, with visits to family members being strictly limited and the general fear of exposure to the virus in some residents who fear exposure to asymptomatic ones turned into strict self-regulation led porters.

However, amid these worrying trends, positive developments have emerged.

The quarantine during the pandemic has resulted in people experiencing what many older adults go through every day and spending a lot of time at home without a set schedule that has the structure of the days and a particular pace. With everyone outside of quarantine having less social interaction outside of the home, families spent more time connecting with relatives using technology.

For seniors with no available family members, organizations have developed innovative projects to expand the social interaction of older adults. For example, the nonprofit group TimeSlips initiated Milwaukee Tele-Stories, which brought local artists together with 10 “connected” elders for weekly conversations and creative engagement, with artists giving a “legacy gift” each.

The founder and CEO of TimeSlips, Anne Basting, also started a “Creative Care” postcard project with care facilities where personal, uplifting mail was sent to their residents. Basting says “FaceTime calls” can be great, but a postcard can always be a “little gasp of joy”. All day. “

As we all sail into the unknown, there is some new data to show that exposure to “age diversity” contributes to longevity. Now more than ever I think about it when I arrive with a cross-generational group of 15 to 90 at the Y-Pool for water tai chi. One of our movements is called “accept with grace”. Many older people there and elsewhere have already mastered this timeless ideal.

Ellyn Lem is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Waukesha.

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