I consciously try not to blog about Covid 19, pandemics and "lockdown" too much, as I am heartily sick of the wall-to-wall coverage and speculation in the Media. But, We are about to enter a whole new "post pandemic" world, and it will have profound implications for people living with dementia.
"One small step for Man. One giant leap for people living with dementia."
Imagine you have just boarded a rollercoaster. As you begin to slowly move forward the loud ratcheting sound and the hubbub of the crowd fades as you and your fellow passengers are pulled ever higher up the steep incline ready to plunge down into the twists and turns of the rest of your ride. Your mouth is dry, your knuckles are white from gripping the handrail so tightly and you are beginning to sweat in anticipation of the unknown.
You know that you're not the only one on the ride, and that many others have made the same journey you have embarked on, but the anticipation is still stomach-churningly frightening. Well, That's how I feel. And I'll tell you why.
It's been over a year now since I ventured out in public (other than for a vaccination and to give away my youngest daughter at her socially distanced wedding). That also means that I am a year further into my dementia. There have been changes. Mostly subtle ones, but important in that they will have an impact on the way I will be able to function once restrictions are limited.
I have adapted to the solitary lifestyle. I'm gregarious online through videoconferencing and social media, but I seldom see real people. I have learned to be comfortable in my groove, where I control everything and understand everything.
Meanwhile, out there in the big, wide world, massive change has already occurred and the rate of change will accelerate as society begins to open up to the new normality that will exist post pandemic. Anyone who has been in lockdown will be apprehensive about returning to "normal", but for we people who are living with dementia it is even more of an unknown because we have not fully experienced and adapted to the changes forced on society since lockdown began. So we don't know the rules or the etiquette that have arisen through circumstance.
“Once the future is foretold, that future becomes a living thing and it will fight very hard to bring itself about.” ― Stephanie Garber, Caraval
So now it's time for me to look into my crystal ball and predict what I think may lie on the road ahead over the next few years...
Many people will continue to shop online for both groceries and household items - They're used to it now, and they quite like it.
Working from home will continue to increase - Employers have finally realised that trusting their workers pays off with increased productivity and less need for costly office space.
There will be an initial period of frantic adjustment - The "new normal" will not happen overnight. We need to develop national and international protocols regarding social interaction, cleanliness and awareness of the possibility of infection. There will inevitably be false starts and adjustments as we continue to learn from our mistakes.
The "new normal" will slide back to the old normal - How soon people forget. I predict that despite the changes to working practices, shopping and some other aspects of life, people will soon get used to their changed situation and carry on as if nothing had happened.
Please feel free to challenge me or add to the list. I don't bite... honestly and every time a post an entry I wait with my tail wagging in anticipation of some feedback. It's lonely out here in Blogland.
So, just as the rollercoaster becomes less scary on the second and subsequent rides, once we are familiar with the twists and turns of our post-pandemic existence we WILL cope. We MUST cope. I WILL attend those face-to-face meetings and gatherings. I WILL return to public speaking (if anyone wants to hear what I have to say). And I WILL get out there and dip my toes in the post-Covid water. But I'll do it at my own pace, aware of my limitations.