It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here. Life, work, and a host of distracting experiences, some good and some not so good, have kept me from keeping up with this blog. More recently, COVID-19 has changed a lot for me—just as it has for most people on this planet. The pandemic, which impacts directly the work I do, has inspired me to create a new series on this platform. I’m calling it Elder Care Heroes.
Elder Care Heroes is about the people who are working hard on the frontlines in the battle against COVID-19–the certified nursing assistants who work in nursing homes, home care, and assisted living communities. CNAs are skilled, hands on caregivers to elders who are typically very sick and therefore extremely vulnerable to the ravages of COVID-19.
Caring for these elders are some 2 million CNAs across this country. I have come to know many CNAs over the years, and in my opinion they have always been heroes, as well as leaders. Now, however, amidst this pandemic, their heroism has risen to new levels. Working in the places where COVID-19 spreads like “fire in dry grass” (as Andrew Cuomo described it recently) and where social distancing is impossible, CNAs are on the frontlines risking their lives and their families’ lives to do the jobs they were called to do.
They are heroes because they show up, care for the elders they love, and put others’ lives before their own. They do this in spite of low wages, a very high risk of getting sick, and less than optimal PPE, among other things. This kind of heroism is, in my opinion, rare and should be recognized at the same levels as are nurses and doctors.
This is the reason I have started the series. Following this post, and over the coming days and weeks, it will feature the stories and images of CNAs doing their jobs, offering insights, telling stories, coping–and caring–in the time of COVID-19.