Senior Citizens Bond to Face Fears During the Pandemic

“But we are strong, each in our own purpose, and we are all stronger together.”

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, there hasn’t been an individual in the entire world who has not been affected. Fear has enveloped us all regardless of age or status, but no other group stands directly in the path of this invisible monster than senior citizens. When the pandemic was announced, it was made crystal clear that the elderly were among the greatest at risk for suffering the worst of the virus’ negative health effects.

How did the elder community react? The residents at the picturesque Quail Hollow Senior Living Community in West Lebanon, consisting of 50 condominiums and three apartment complexes that are nestled in a wooded area teaming with wildlife, had their world turned upside down.

However, never underestimate the power of the human spirit especially in people who have lived through countless tribulations. Shake off the fears and the loneliness and help each other overcome the threat by standing together. Quail Hollow Community Manager, Kristi White, shares her observation as the residents responded to a whole new lifestyle.

Peter and Suzanne Talbot still very social, but from a distance

“The residents of Quail Hollow have shown compassion for their fellow community members and patience with the State and Federal guidelines that Summit Properties is encouraging. Even though we are a very social community, social distancing guidelines are contrary to human nature but our community members are doing their very best to not only ensure the safety and well-being of themselves, but also their neighbors. Residents are communicating with each other to ensure that one another’s basic needs are met and that those who might be struggling with feeling isolated also feel supported emotionally.”

Everywhere you go in the complex, you will see notices posted on bulletin boards and entrances offering people rides to appointments, volunteers who will take a list and do the individual grocery shopping or just visiting to break the isolation. All this is being done by following the strict guidelines set forth by State and Federal regulations. Summit Properties recently hosted an outdoor concert by local entertainer Jim Hollis to brighten everyone’s spirits on a beautiful May afternoon.

There could be no more shining example of the kindred spirit of the seniors than that of a group of ladies who banded together to make sure that all residents had access to the recommended face-masks that are being worn by all. River House resident, Candis Darcey, spearheaded the all-out effort, but credited the number of volunteers that answered the call.

“I came up with the concept after seeing the need and got an immediate response from fellow residents that included Cathryn Reed and Jean Kenison. Also Dot Plume (known as The Quilt Lady) helped us in designing the procedure used to make the masks. We also had other volunteers do the sewing and ironing needed on the masks. It was a true team effort and it turned out we got the services of just the right people for this project. As far as wearing of the masks, the only way to stay safe is to continue to be worried about the safety of others. I picked up the initial cost of the materials and supplies needed and we requested donations and there was a great response to pay me back.”

Candis estimates that so far these volunteers have produced somewhere between 300-350 face-masks and that number continues to grow.

“We continue to make these masks,” explained Jean Kenison. “For example, I donated some 35-50 masks to the Sharon VT Fire Department. We will be making them as long as there is a need.”

Seniors who have accepted the new lifestyle with renewed vigor and vision include condominium owners Peter and Suzanne Talbot. Their reaction to the pandemic was inspiring, to say the least. Peter is often affectionately referred to as The Mayor of Quail Hollow due to his outgoing, positive outlook. He often holds court on his front porch cheerfully greeting all who pass by. At age 83, Peter has lived life to the fullest.

“We are at a level of life where we can appreciate what we have and just be where we are.” Peter noted with his famous wide smile. “It is an amazing perch to view the situation, but we continue to worry about the younger generation. We simply live in an amazing area. I love the Upper Valley especially. Simply stated, we have been blessed.”

“Even with all the stay-at-home restrictions, we are enduring.” Suzanne reports that they remain very active. She credits Zoom, an audio and conferencing web platform.

“We use Zoom and Facebook. It has become big in our lives now. We do so many things like connect with our family, church services, a garden club meeting. taking an OSHER class and even a virtual cocktail party!” she exclaimed. “Peter connects with his old tennis buddies.”

Having conversations with many of the Quail Hollow residents will give you faith that the pandemic nightmare will not only end, but rest assured the senior citizens will help lead the way!