This has been an exceptionally difficult year on so many levels, yet even in the midst of COVID-19, we’re surrounded by examples of the resiliency of the human spirit in action. We wanted to find out how people were staying positive and active when it would have been so easy to just give in. Below are highlights from our interviews with a number of adults, ages 58–89. We hope you find their stories as inspiring as we do!
Energy for the grandkids
Cheryl (age 58) has worked as a housekeeper for many years, cleaning homes and apartments for families and older adults. At the beginning of the pandemic, her business slowed down considerably and she worried about finances. “It turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” she said. “Before COVID, I was too exhausted on the weekend to have much energy left for my grandkids.” Although she’s busier now, Cheryl is glad to be working fewer hours because it frees her up to take care of her beloved grandchildren.
Recipe for enthusiasm
Philomena (age 89) lives in an independent/assisted living facility that had to shut down all group activities, including communal dining, transportation services, and cultural outings, in March. “I’m really lucky to have my own car, so my life hasn’t changed nearly as much as it has for others,” she said. “I buy my own groceries and look up recipes on my phone to get ideas for what to cook—like scrambled eggs with soy sauce!” She also enjoys trading funny texts and videos with her adult children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.
Enjoying each other’s company
Clyde (age 65) has worked from home for most of his life, but his wife always went into the office. “We’d really only see each other in the evening and some on weekends, but often she’d spend Saturdays taking care of her mom,” he said. Since March, his wife has been working from home. “I love it!” he said. “Now we eat lunch and dinner together, take a walk or bike ride (pre-snow) in the afternoon, and still have time to enjoy reading or watching a movie in the evening.”
Time for creative writing
Maryanne (age 76), a published children’s book author, was working as a children’s librarian when the pandemic hit. She lost her job but not her mojo. “I really miss the kids, but now that I have more time and mental space, I’ve been writing more,” she said. “I’ve also been attending writing conferences on Zoom, which has introduced me to a whole new group of children’s book authors!” In addition to writing, she now walks every morning—rain, shine, sleet, or snow, often while listening to an audiobook from the library. “My daily walks really help keep my spirits up,” she said.
Susan (age 72) is the primary caregiver for four disabled family members who live in the same assisted living facility. “For the past ten years, I’ve spent nearly every day bringing them groceries, cleaning their apartments, doing their laundry, and taking them to medical appointments,” she said. That changed overnight when their facility went into lockdown mode. Within one month, Susan’s colitis, a condition that had plagued her for several years, completely healed. “The pandemic taught me to set boundaries which has really lowered my stress level,” she said. “Now I deliver groceries once a week, instead of jumping up every time a family member wanted a bag of potato chips.” She’s also enjoying doing crafts projects, reading books, and reaching out to friends who are living alone.
Rethinking her future
Laurel (age 61) had been working as an actor and theater instructor when all theaters shut down in March. Suddenly her performing and teaching jobs vanished—along with her income. “It was hard at first, but the pandemic forced me to slow down and think about how I wanted to spend the next 10–15 years.” With the help of unemployment benefits and some savings, she began to pursue a degree in chemical dependency counseling, “I love being back in school!” she added.
Work that sparks joy
As for me, I was laid off in early April as a result of the pandemic. With all this time on my hands, I was able to offer my services to a non-profit that needed help with their website and newsletter. I also took a memoir-writing class on Zoom—something I’d thought about for years but never actually did anything about. And then, in June, I began working for a company whose mission, vision, and culture I love and respect!
What have we learned during the pandemic? Although this has been an incredibly challenging year, our resilience and the desire to live purposeful lives is within each of us. That’s an ageless opportunity—and it’s how Homespire sees aging – their team of senior-care experts do more than just ‘care’ for people by find ways to inspire them to live and age healthier and more independently. Despite illnesses, aches, pains, and fill-in-the-blank, we keep finding ways to move forward and reinvent ourselves. There is much joy available to all of us, so go ahead and grab hold of it. Safely, of course, and wearing a mask!
We’d love to hear what has inspired your life during these crazy times! And if you need some additional support, call us 24/7 at 801-503-3210. To learn more about Homespire’s services and how you can live an inspired life—even in the middle of a pandemic—schedule a free consultation today!