A Special Note from the Nurse
It is my pleasure to welcome each of you to 2021. This column will be dedicated to us being THANKFUL. Thankful for what we had, thankful for what we have, and thankful for those things that we are hoping to acquire in 2021. As we welcome in the new year “2021”, many of us realize that our health is something that we can be thankful for. As we reflect on the past year; 2020 started out being what we would consider as another normal year. Many of us went through our normal formalities of bringing in the new year with well wishes, making resolutions that mostly included maintaining our good health and the health of those around us. We made plans for increasing both, our personal and professional growth. It seems that just as we were settling into a new year, our year began to change with the invasion of an invisible enemy commonly referred to as COVID-19.
COVID-19, also known as Corona Virus, has been the topic of many news facets around the world. This virus became the first pandemic since 2009 to cause massive devastation in the United States. Once the virus touched the US border in March 2020, there was no turning back. The United States has faced with a few waves of the virus after each major holiday passed and each wave appeared to become more devastating the previous wave. In 2020, we were faced with social shutdowns, working from home, home schooling, quarantines, isolations, lock downs, social distance, and the idea of figuring out what we could do alone or with the family members in our own homes. We were forced to deal with heartbreak; due to the loss of loved ones and friends, job losses, income deficits, food insecurities and most important, the sadness of those who had to face their mental health issues in silence or domestic violence in fear. The year of 2020 was a year for the record books; with more lives lost in a single day from any other major event in U.S. history.
As we usher in the year of 2021, we will do so in the same manner that we have lived our lives in 2020, much more quieter due to many of us following the “Science” by limiting our social gathering, wearing our mask in public and at home when we have visitors. The process of masking up, using good hand hygiene practices, and listening to those that provide sound advice to keep us healthy are the tools we will have to live by for this up-coming year and beyond. We will never be able to undue the wrong and pain that we have faced in 2020, but if we are mindful of its affects on our lives, we will be able to move into the new year equipped with more knowledge and understanding of how we can move forward and be more educated about this devastating invisible enemy that has left it’s mark on many families around the world.
We will leave 2020 behind as a number on the record books, a year of pain and heartache for millions of people. We do, however, have some glimpse of hope for the new year. Although, many of us wish that we could go back and be shielded from the scars that COVID-19 has left us to deal with for the rest of our lives; we must move forward. We must move forward trusting and believing that help is on the way. The end of 2020 will be marked with record numbers of deaths and devastations due to the pandemic. We must continue to fight our way to see the light of a new day. A day when we commit to letting the “Science” show us that it works.
We spent most of 2020 wondering, if COVID-19 would be eradicated, but no matter how hard and how long we prayed and after thousands and thousands of lives lost, it took 11 months for scientist to develop vaccines, get them approved through the FDA, and get them dispersed to the community. Although we considered this record time for getting a vaccine through the approval process, for millions of people around the world the vaccine was too late for the families who lost loved ones from this heartless virus.
The end of 2020 does bring us some glimmer of hope, as millions have been have already been vaccinated by at least one dose of a two-dose vaccine regimen. Yes, the world has been introduced not one, but two COVID-19 vaccinations. It appears that hope of a better year is on the way. We must remain steadfast and unmovable and always relying on God to move us through this unprecedented time. The losses caused by the COVID-19 virus will continue to haunt this world as it goes down in the history books as a virus that has broken records. This virus has killed more people in one day than those that died in Pearl Harbor, it has surpassed Heart Disease by being the number one (#1) killer of those dying for heart disease in 2020.
We all share emotional burdens relating COVID-19 that will be remembered for many years to come. This past year has changed the way we view many facets of our daily lives because we have been forced to rethink the way we live our daily lives post the invasion of COVID-19. Simple acts of using personal hygiene have become our personal care plan for trying to remain COVID-19 free. Our everyday acts of receiving gentle reminders every time we wake to start a new day has become part of our daily routine.
The first vaccine to receive FDA approval, be distributed, and administered to thousands of “Frontline Workers” is now here; and as thousands of people wait their turn to be vaccinated, we must continue to pray. The world needed a break; and if the break happens to be in a vial, let’s embrace it.
As millions wait and see if we are on the breakthrough of returning to what we once knew as normal, we must continue to take every precaution we know of to be safe. We must remember that in order for the world to have any chance of returning to the way we were in previous years, we must remain vigilant and we must remain steadfast and unmovable by continuing to mask up, wash our hands, and avoid large crowd when we can.
One of our goals this year as we wait on life to return to some sort of normalcy, should be to check on our friends and loved ones daily. Remembering that emotional well-being is an important aspect to the healing process. We all win when we are emotionally healthy. This holiday season was different; and the effects of dealing with the emotional changes will be devastating well into the new year and beyond for millions of families.
There have been so many losses due to COVID-19, and as family members and friends we have an obligation to make sure that we reach out to someone who is struggling. Also, remember to keep check on your own mental health. In-order for you to be of service to someone else, you must be able to talk about your own personal losses. Sometimes just being able to have a comforting conversation will do someone good. Remember, the biggest gift you can give someone during their hour of loss is your time and your thoughtfulness.
Happy New Year and remember to check on a friend.
What you need to know if you live alone:
Risk for severe illness with COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk.
Certain medical conditions can also increase risk for severe illness.
People at increased risk, and those who live or visit with them, need to take precautions to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.
As a Senior or a person that lives alone it is important to have a care plan that outlines important demographic information related to you. Your plan should provide the following information that will be your voice on paper in the event you cannot speak for yourself.
Important information for your Care Plan includes, but is not limited to:
emergency contacts, and
end-of-life care options (for example, advance directives).
Complete your care plan in consultation with your doctor, and if needed, with help from a family member, caregiver or home health aide. A care plan can have benefits beyond the current pandemic. You can update your care plan every year, or any time you have a change in your health or medicines. Care plans can help reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations and improve overall medical management for people with a chronic medical condition, resulting in better quality of life.
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