Room Number 108

Door

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”

Bryant H. Mcgill

As a dental hygienist who works in community research, our team is temporarily on hold due to COVID-19. During this downtime we learned about room number 108.

When we are working, our research team goes out to subsidized housing facilities seeking participants 62 years and older who have at least one tooth. We examine for carious lesions and once we have a finding, we treat.

During this down time, our team meets weekly for Zoom calls to discuss a myriad of topics relating to our work. Our next meeting is next week and the dental hygienists in the team are to give a presentation. Since our participant base is 62 and older, we chose to talk about the elderly, isolation and loneliness.

Words from the man in room number 108

My colleague chose a video for the team to watch and discuss. It is told from Dr. Richard “Dick” Weinman and what it is like for him to live in an assisted living facility (ALF).

For those of us who work with the elderly, this is an eye opening reminder of the struggles this vulnerable population face on daily basis. I think you will agree that this subject matter is powerful and difficult to ignore.

The elderly are placed in a challenging position during this precedented time in history. They are unable to hub their loved ones, or even see their loved ones. If they are in a nursing facility or hospital, they must endure the severe loneliness put upon them by mandated law. Stay away from human contact, they are told, you might get the virus.

Such a sad time for our elders, and ourselves. Many people weren’t with their loved ones when they were sick and many people died, alone for fear that they might catch the virus.

The sad fact remains, the elderly who once felt alone are now alone. Really alone. Don’t you wish you could hug them all right now?

It might be in our best interest when this virus passes, to go and hug our elders. Tell them how much we love them and give them a good back scratching or rub. It could make all the difference in their world.

Stay safe, Annamarie

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