A guest post by Manuela, 55, married, one adult daughter, employed, from Duisburg, Germany:
I got through the first lockdown quite well. I quickly found myself working from home and found the 90-minute daily time gain to be a plus in quality of life. My husband also worked from home. We spent the breaks together on the terrace with coffee and sun, which was otherwise only possible at the weekends.
My mother lives in a nursing home near us. She suffers from progressive dementia. Her room has a balcony facing the entrance and so I could visit her every day, stand under the balcony and talk to her. It is extremely important for people with dementia to see familiar people regularly and especially to talk to them regularly. My mother seemed to cope quite well with this arrangement, so I was grateful for this opportunity for interaction.
The second lockdown is significantly worse than the first. I worry most about my mother.
The second lockdown is clearly worse than the first. Because of the cold temperatures, I can meet my mother less under the balcony. When I went by once, she came out at noon in her nightgown looking quite confused. A call to the ward revealed that nursing staff had called in sick and the residents had been ordered a “bed day”. I was very worried about my mother from then on, because I couldn’t see her and she often doesn’t answer the phone. She probably doesn’t even realise that the phone is ringing for her.
On New Year’s Eve, I was able to visit my mother again after three weeks of quarantine. There were Corona cases on two wards and none of the residents were allowed visitors. Since Christmas there are now FFP2 masks. It totally baffles me that between Lockdown 1 and Lockdown 2 no one realised a concept to protect the elderly. Most Corona deaths come from care home environments, which is terrible. I am a very committed relative who calls the home a lot, writes emails, also to politicians, but what do the old people do who are alone? I can’t even think about it.
I was already worried in the spring about the hardening of the “Corona deniers” and the “sleep sheep”, although I must honestly say that in my environment people are quite reflective and express criticism with consideration. I also believe that democracy means putting up with other opinions and – optimally – discussing them and NOT becoming abusive. Increasingly, this seems to be impossible. In the spring I perceived it differently.
I compensate for the closure of the gyms with a mini exercise bike and a gym mat for sit-ups. That’s ok. I miss my friends, almost all of whom live in Berlin and whom I used to visit several times a year. Sure, we talk on the phone, but that can’t replace a face-to-face conversation.
My husband, my daughter and I have crisis-proof jobs. We are grateful for that. The debts that are being built up will be paid for later by my grandchildren, who are yet to be born, I fear. I feel sorry for the people whose livelihood is threatened and who get sick because of it. So far, they don’t appear in any statistics.
Note: The measures justified by Covid-19 have led to us being locked up at home. Fears are increasing, aggression too. So that the “lockdown” does not also lock up souls, exchange is important. In this blog, people write what is currently moving them.
If you feel inspired to share your feelings and experiences, just write a message to email@example.com, subject: Unlock.