The reality of aging in the new world order of Covid19

My 86 year old mom fell this morning at my sister’s place.

She’d been staying there since 2 Apr, even before our country’s COVID-19 circuit breaker pandemic measures kicked in on 7 Apr. As mentioned in a previous blog post, she had been staying with me since October last year when her dementia was official, but she occasionally ‘camps’ over at my sister’s place.

It’s been challenging for my sister (who’s retired and in her mid-60s) to be caring for her these past two months since movements nationwide were restricted. So in a sense, given my mom’s age, condition, and diminished motor competence, it’s probably already a blessing that she’s been well so far.

My sister said that she had for whatever reason slept badly the night before so she likely missed a step on her groggy walk to the kitchen early this morning.

The good news is that according to the examining doctor, nothing on her was injured or fractured. Still, she’s been warded today at the nearby hospital for overnight observations to ensure there’s no internal bleeding.

The bad news is that this is happening during COVID so it’s really tough in terms of visitations by family members. The visiting hours are extremely limited but strictly enforced. And to top it all off, each time only one person can see her.

Though I’m confident my still-feisty mother will be back home safe and sound by tomorrow, if not a little bruised on her hip, still the concerns remain: Will she recover fully from this fall? Will she fall again?

And it makes me reflect on what aging is like in this new world order thanks to this irreversible global coronavirus pandemic.

The elderly are the most vulnerable and fragile during this period, but eventually, that’s all of us. And a fall is probably particularly frightening, especially if it leads to serious fractures and we end up bedridden and hospitalized.

And we all know how far more stressful it is these days to be in a hospital!

I have been having chronic back pains for a number of years now so I understand all too well this whole fragility matter, compounded by unknown viruses that are coming in waves. With each passing year, I have to be more and more careful to act my true age, because everything needs to be done slower and with greater care than ever before. Taking the stairs, going for walks, even just the simple act of getting out of bed in the morning. One careless or false move and the rest of the day could be spent in agonizing pain.

And lest anyone think lightly of the reality of body and joint pains, and the body’s degradation with each turn, move, or even sneeze….well you might wanna check out this article, or at least take a look at the diagram below to see what goes ‘wrong’ as we grow old!

biological hallmarks of aging infographic

Best of course if you are or have an elderly person in your circle or network. If not, well it’s not that hard to find and befriend someone nearing the twilight of his/her life in your community. Keeping of course your social distancing, please!

Stay healthy by all means, but be realistic. The fountain of youth isn’t a real option! Better to have caring people around to support you when you’re old and gray.

For me right now, I’m just looking forward to bringing my mom back home again once she’s discharged and this pandemic eases.

Then, at least my youngest can stop asking me: “When can Ah Mah come home?”

 

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