Tag: retirement community

What happened to Alice

Isolated, watching TV alone
This could have been Alice. Or you.

Early in June 2021, when it appeared that COVID shut-downs were finally being lifted, I joined in the general wave of relief. I also joined what seemed to be a separate wave of people taking time to assess just how lives had been changed. I invited Emergency Plan Guide readers to share their experiences. One of the most compelling stories came from Clare in Maine. She gave me permission to share “What happened to Alice.” It’s a story of scarcity and resilience in a setting you ought to know more about. Clare wrote . . .

When the COVID confusion hit in March 2020 I thought,
“At least Alice is ok.”

My dear friend Alice, widowed 2 years before, sold her big house and moved to a swanky, top of the line assisted living apartment. Though the apartment was smallish, the menu of activities, excursions, classes and other offerings at the facility meant my 82-year-old friend in good health would be constantly on the move. No money worries, no worries about accidents, upkeep on her home, driving herself–a perfect solution for her active later years.

Well, that is not what happened. Having moved in just a month before COVID, the assisted living immediately went into lockdown, promising “No deaths here from COVID!”

Total and absolute lock-down

No one was allowed to visit at all, and Alice and the other residents could not leave their apartments. There was onsite medical care but everything else was cancelled. Residents who formerly ate in the dining room had meals left on trays outside their door. Alice had a phone, no computer, her TV and cable subscription. She’d downsized all her books as her vision failed. Games, puzzles and other amusements went in the yard sale, and her new apartment held only the most basic furniture.

As Alice put it: “$4K a month to be in jail!”

At Christmas we were allowed to leave gifts, unwrapped in an outside bin with the resident’s name attached.  In late winter friends and relatives were finally able to leave groceries and such for residents, on a table outside the main entrance.

It was April 2021 before the restrictions were lifted and residents were allowed to leave the building. Just imagine yourself in this situation.

Results of Alice’s lockdown experience

The plus: no resident got COVID.

The minus: no assisted living resident was at all prepared for a 13-month isolation. They had been assured of 24/7 services to meet any need when they moved in to the facility.

We all had various trials and problems in 2020 but I wonder how many people realize what happened to those who truly lived alone in a bubble.

How does what happened to Alice apply to us?

  • Do you know any seniors? Do they live in retirement homes or communities?
  • Maybe you are thinking of moving into a retirement community yourself?
  • Would you be prepared if you found yourself in a situation like Alice’s?

Next week, I’ll be sending out a follow-up to Alice’s story – because I believe it could have been different. Part Two of Alice’s story will feature some more stories, this time about what other retirement communities did to keep their residents safe and engaged.

Your Emergency Plan Guide team

As long as people are still getting infected by the virus, it has shown it will mutate. More shut-downs are very likely. We might as well be ready. Stay tuned for some ideas in Part Two of Alice’s story!