Seniors Protest Lockdowns Outside Care Home: 'Rather Die From COVID Than Loneliness'
Residents protested outside Fairacres Manor nursing home
Long-term-care residents gathered at a nursing home in Greeley, Colorado, to protest their opposition to the state's draconian lockdown restrictions preventing physical contact with their loved ones.
20 residents, some in wheelchairs, protested outside Fairacres Manor, CBS4 Denver reported.
Handwritten signs read:
“Prisoners in our own home” and “Give us freedom.”
One resident’s sign read that she would rather die from COVID-19 than loneliness.
Resident Council President Sharon Peterson told CBS4:
“We used to be lucky here at Fairacres to show each other what we mean to one another, and we cannot do that anymore."
"Fairacres follows the rules, and, with that, we think they would keep us safe while being able to be with our families again.”
“We did this because one thing we have to look forward to is a simple hug,” Peterson added.
“It gives us meaning.”
Assistant administrator at Fairacres Manor, Ben Gonzales, told CBS4 that while residents are allowed visitors, they are not allowed physical contact and must maintain a six-foot distance.
“They want to be able to hug their grandchildren; they want to be able to hold the hands of their loved ones,” Gonzales said.
Democratic Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement following the protest:
We absolutely understand how difficult it has been for residents of residential care facilities and their families. Social interaction is essential to physical and mental health, and so we have provided guidance to residential care facilities that allows for that interaction while also keeping residents safe from COVID-19. Restrictions have been in place previously, but residents are now able to visit loved ones both indoors and outdoors. In addition, we are doing everything possible to help long-term care facilities mitigate and prevent the spread of COVID-19 by working directly with facilities on proper infection control practices that have been proven to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Loneliness has been increasing among older Americans even before the coronavirus lockdowns.
A 2018 AARP survey entitled “Loneliness and Social Connections: A National Survey of Adults 45 and Older,” said around one-third of the more than 3,000 midlife and older Americans reported feeling lonely.
But it not just older people experiencing loneliness.
Members of Generation Z have reported staggering rates of suicidal ideation in recent months, according to a 2018 Cigna study.
A CDC survey also revealed over a quarter of those surveyed between the ages of 18-24 had “seriously considered” killing themselves during a 30-day period.