Like so many of us, I have been following the news of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. We have our hard news sources, and people will debate as to which are valid and which are not – but one common thread has been the supposed effect on people over a certain age as being more serious than for younger people. I think that promoting this idea was a big mistake as it has caused fear among people who are over the publicised age – and has allowed younger people to assume that nothing would happen to them. Both are dangerous in their own way – for older people to be in fear of their lives is stressful – and STRESS on its own, at worst can kill, and at best make the fearful person totally miserable!
In the news we learned about the deaths of a number of residents in a care home in Washington State and today I read of the same happening somewhere else, and I remembered something written by Dr Deepak Chopra*. He wrote of being a young resident in a veterans’ hospital in Boston, and in one day he would run physicals on dozens of patients with all the degenerative diseases assumed to be found in the aging. Then one day he had a moment of insight – he was not seeing OLD people – he was seeing SICK people! He realised that all over America, doctors were making the same mistake.
According to the Census Bureau between 4% and 5% of seniors 65+ are in care homes or assisted living facilities – and people in those facilities will already have health issues of some kind. We have to acknowledge that the residents of care homes are already SICK people and not healthy “old” people. Data on the current pandemic has in fact shown that those who died did in fact have had 1 – 3 different diseases before being infected with COVID-19.
So, whatever your age – your individual health profile is far more important than a number calculated from the year you were born. There will be 80 year olds that breeze through this pandemic and younger people from each decade who become seriously ill. Take precautions, stay home, but do not shut yourself away like a hermit if you need to go shopping, and if you feel worried discuss your own individual health issues, if you have any, with your Doctor. If you are healthy, age is just a number.
As to any younger people reading this – you are NOT bullet proof, many of you are becoming infected, and could become seriously ill. Is one more party worth the risk? You have the internet, use it!
© Stephanie Hunt-Crowley April 1, 2020
*Dr Deepak Chopra, Ageless Body Timeless Mind, 1993, page 63