On Being Nowhere

Members | November 04, 2020 | by Carol Silver Elliott

Our board chair, Carol Silver Elliott, reflects on resilience over the past year.

Surviving the first round of this pandemic was no small feat. For those of us in geographies that brought us early cases, we were figuring it out as we went along. No one had information or resources or guidance or help. We learned by doing and we all used every tool and technique we could think of or had heard about. In my organization, when we reached the beginning of June, life began to stabilize and we were able to exhale. Maybe not a full exhale but an exhale nonetheless.

Now we stand at the end of October. In my Facebook feed today, I saw memories of being at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting in San Diego last year and was struck anew by how much has changed in the last year and what a huge gulf exists between where we were in 2019 and where we are in 2020. Things we thought were certain last year are now uncertain and our terrain is no longer familiar.

In our area, as in many others, we are seeing increases in the community spread of the virus. Numbers are going up as are hospitalizations. While we have not let up for a moment on our careful infection control and use of PPE in-house, it is impossible to know what folks are doing when they are outside of our walls. They are tired, we are tired, and we all want our lives back.

There are those who would say that we are, in-essence, nowhere. We know more than we did in February but, in reality, we know nothing. This virus is treacherous and deadly and is far from gone. And our fight cannot end, cannot even pause.

What matters now, and why we will ultimately prevail, is that our focus is on the well-being of our elders. Our focus is on keeping our staff strong and well. Our focus is on facing down this enemy and defeating it—whatever it takes.

I think about being nowhere and there are moments, especially in the middle of the night, when it gives me pause. But I push those thoughts away because I know that, in the light of day, we are strong and relentless and we will continue to push forward.

As LeadingAge members and elder care providers, we are determined and we are resilient. As LeadingAge, we stand together to support one another as we take on this fight. Collectively our wisdom, courage, compassion, and commitment will carry us forward and we will forge a path to a brighter future.