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Rezola. Matia Fundazioa

Nursing homes: Lessons from a year of living with Covid-19

A year ago, we were astonished to see how an unknown virus entered our lives with devastating force and devastated our lifestyle, our health, and in many cases the lives of thousands of citizens, especially those in care homes.

Since then, we have been living in turbulent times in which uncertainties win out over certainties and in which truths as temples seem to vanish and everything, or almost everything, is open to opinion.

One of the meanings that the RAE gives to the term tragedy is that mournful and regrettable situation or event that affects people or human societies. We are thus witnessing a tragedy which, in all its literalness, has brought before us our vulnerability, the interdependence we need for life and the lack of attention we as a society are paying to the great social change that longevity signifies.

And, paradox of life, also a unique opportunity for change, the transformation of how we view old age, and above all to make people's rights prevail, regardless of their age or situation.

Many structures, policies and services need to be changed. No area must be left out: health, housing, education plans, the design of cities... And especially without delay the approach to care for people in need of care.

There are still many leftovers from the past. People do not want, we do not want to live in "institutions". We want to be at home, go out, come in, receive and say goodbye to friends and family. We want environments in which caring is a valued, prestigious and attractive activity for young people starting their professional development.

There is a lot to do. And it must be done well. The value of science is still present in these days to find the best means to protect us from covid- 19. So must the knowledge of environmental gerontologists, ageing psychologists, economists, philosophers, and many more.

In the last thirty years, a wealth of scientific knowledge has been accumulated from all these disciplines that must finally be applied to policies, services and training plans related to ageing.

"Nunca Mais", was the slogan of thousands of people who eagerly cleaned up the Galician coastline after the Prestige disaster. Let us borrow it. This year's tragedy must never be repeated.

Let us act with commitment, vision and knowledge.

Author

Researcher at Matia Instituto

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