Hard to know where to start. What has been painfully obvious to us for too many years is our deep seated understanding of the meaning of “staying at home.” We have been the hard-headed advocates of the safety, security, comfort and importance to our overall well being guaranteed by the intrinsic desire to age in place. Over 80 percent of all care takes place at home. There has never been a buyer of long term care protection sold that began with a primary desire to languish in an institutional setting. This was of course most clear to those who had witnessed that possible eventuality within their own inventory of family and friends. Our problem, of course, is that consumers understand exactly what they do not want but, as we know all too well, have serious difficulty coming to grips with what they should want.
For 30 years I have had the privilege of standing with a fanatic cohort of dedicated professionals who rose each morning to help as many as possible Stay at Home. Listening to the endless monologues of talking heads evaluating the pandemic, it’s almost as if they have uncovered an underground religious cult. It is certainly safe to say that a new culturally permanent personal understanding of the good and bad of staying at home will become a measure of historical progression on a global scale.
What matters is that all our lives will be changed forever. When we again feel truly safe, the last “phase” will be a time of reflection. What did we learn? Which past expediencies are now permanent? How can we be better prepared if and when there may be a next time?
May I humbly shout from my front porch: “Lord please help us never forget who suffered the most during this crisis and still remains the most exposed to real mortal risk! We are all overburdened and spiritually anesthetized by the relentless progression of negative statistics. May we forever remember that the overwhelming majority of this mountain of death took place in institutional settings! Those most vulnerable, those already at the mercy of their often underpaid and inadequately regulated care givers have been hit the hardest. Those already, in many cases, afraid and alone have paid the highest price.
Two specific events have lodged themselves in my daily thought: 1) The Governor of New Jersey today sent in National Guard troops to shore up the spiraling conflagration taking place at nursing homes and those huddled together for the need of long term care: 2) Yesterday a panel of virus experts declared that we of course knew exactly where the greatest concentration of vulnerable populations was located and still we waited too late to focus our attention where it was needed the most. In other words, we knew exactly where we needed to be to defend those who could not defend themselves and, as these experts then brazenly admitted, we should have begun our defensive moves there. Frankly folks, after this media event I had to take a long walk in my garden. It remains my refuge when our collective failures require emergency reflection.
My ask, reflected perpetually in this column and confirmed by the continuing faith of those who read this column, is that private at-home care remains the answer. How can we not have acquired a new collective memory institutionalizing a now unforgettable and universally recognized truth? Quality private care at home must never again escape our shared cultural consciousness. That avoiding the possible horrors of an underfunded custodial health environment will never again require our need to explain why that is bad. That the comfort and strength our planet found at home will be our new global wisdom—a permanent reminder that if I must take an order let it be “Stay at Home”…and when we must, then we must be better prepared.
Other than that I have no opinion on the subject.