We have failed the elderly

Dear Editor:

We failed. I’m sorry. And most of us do not know what to do about it.

I’m referring to our friends and family members in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. You’ve been quarantined to your rooms. Visitors are not allowed to come in and visit with you. Some of your neighbor-friends are dying. You feel isolated. You are surrounded by a new virus. Many of you do not have any other option than to stay where you are.

There are lots of numbers thrown around about the new virus. Lots of confusion. Lots of apprehension. But most of us are not isolated to one room and we do make trips for pleasure, work and to the grocery store.

About 40% of the population infected with the virus transmit the virus before they feel sick. Shedding or spreading of the virus can occur 2-3 days before there are any symptoms. A recent study in Indiana found 45% of those testing positive had no symptoms what-so-ever. So we have too many people walking around with the virus, spreading the virus, never feeling sick, are never tested and are not aware that they are putting others at great risks. There are also those who test positive but have unknowingly been spreading the virus for a few days prior.

Across the nation, around 40% of all the COVID-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes and long term care facilities. But in Johnson County and likely other places, 80% of the COVID-19 deaths occurred in such facilities. Double the national rate! That should be sending up a red flag. Most of those deaths in Johnson County occurred in just three facilities (Greenwood Healthcare, Greenwood Meadows and Otterbein Franklin).

Why? What happened? Or what did not happen?

We’re sorry, but we don’t know what to do. Individuals probably can not do much. But is there any agency at the local, state or federal level aware of the risks that our friends and family members are exposed to in such facilities? Is anyone attempting to determine why some nursing homes have so many COVID-19 deaths? Have any changes been made at these high risk facilities? Does anybody even care?

I’m sorry. We have failed many of our family members and friends. Shame on us as a society for not caring or doing more.

Richard Huber, M.D. Greenwood, Indiana Graduate of St. Paul H.S.

Concerned about elderly loved one

Dear Editor:

Enough is enough! I understand the need to protect our most vulnerable population from Covid-19, but the enforced isolation in elder facilities is bordering on cruelty.

My mother-in-law and father-in-law reside at the Morning Breeze Retirement Community. First and foremost, I would like to state that the staff there has done an incredible job and should be hailed as heroes.

My father-in-law contracted Covid-19 there in March and died from the virus. My mother-in-law has been in lockdown IN HER ROOM since mid-March. She lost her husband of 67 years on March 28th. She has tested negative for Covid and the facility has had no new cases for over 3 weeks. Yet, she is still on lockdown in HER ROOM. Eleven weeks without her husband of 67 years and still no visitors allowed in any form. This policy is bordering on elder abuse, plain and simple.

Why there can’t be immediate family visits with masks, social distancing and outside is beyond understanding. The detrimental mental health toll is of higher risk than contracting the virus with the aforementioned conditions in place.

I understand it is difficult for government officials to strike the right balance on safety, but we’ve crossed the line into the absurd. If anything happens to my bereaved and depressed mother-in-law due to this over-reactive policy, I lay the responsibility at the feet of Governor Holcomb.

Dana Rust Richmond, Virginia

An open letter to Sens. Braun, Young

Dear Editor:

I am not writing to criticize or cast blame. I’ve tried that, and it just exacerbates the problem. I am writing as a nonpartisan patriot to express a humble plea that you two Senators use the power of your office to take nonpartisan patriotic action to pull America back from the looming abyss.

I won’t list the many, varied, very imminent, existential threats we face. We all know what they are. My family is crushed, terrified and heartbroken by America’s sad plight.

David Gergen, a nonpartisan observer who served two Republican Presidents express our despair pretty well in this op/ed: https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/30/opinions/trump-twitter-minneapolis-george-floyd-gergen/index.html.

I ask that you two US Senators read Gergen’s op/ed and I appeal to your sense of truth, duty, dignity, honor, and patriotism in asking you to act to try to save America.

Ron Nesler New Harmony, Indiana

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