AARP AARP States Oregon

To Mask, or Not to Mask!

Senior man putting on a protective mask for coronavirus at home

To Mask or not To Mask? 

That’s not a question anymore. 

A mask is a major mitigation to the marauding COVID-19.

Alas, for me, it’s not as simple as hooking a string behind my ear.

The leadership of my Assisted Living Facility has taken the lead to protect us old folks – all of whom are in the Dangerous Age category. Even worse, many of us have already  suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous  fortune - we are in the critical Underlying Conditions category. – CHF and/or COPD

Therefore, we residents have been advised to wear a mask when we leave the isolation of our room. I’m for that.  But many residents don’t adhere to the recommendation.  That word – recommend - is the reason, I think, for the lack of adherents to the proclamation – it’s a recommendation, not you have to. But It’s a good idea to do it.

 Aye, there’s the rub, as the Danish prince who gave himself the binary option sadly observed.

It’s a hard decision to make whether or not to tell to wear a mask, older adults who have all the pains and creaky bones of aging and enough ADLs to be eligible to live in an ALF.

 I’m lucky I  can wear a mask to fit my moods - a yellow or a blue lightweight mask which I wear to dental/medical appointments; a heavyweight hospital mask; a camouflage mask; and a homemade three-fold tie dye mask, which matches my tie dye T shirts.  I mask in style.

I wear a mask diligently; most other residents don’t seem to. When I go to the ALF exercise class, I feel like the Lone Ranger.  I wear one of my collection when I visit the lobby.   I’m masked when I go out doors to absorb Vitamin D and read – again I’m the solitary masker, except for my former table mate, Horace. His mask, like my tie-dye, was made by his daughter. We’re the only residents who are so donned – except for the smokers.  Now that has to be hard to manage.

But there is flaccidity in the rigor of my rigueur.

Although I leave the building for the salubrious effects of the sun,  equally important to me is the refreshment of the fresh air.  How can I suck in the N, the O2, the Ar, and the CO2, with a mask inhibiting the sniffing power of my nose?

If I’m masked, i miss the smell of fresh cut grass.  I miss the fruity fragrance of roses. The wispy whiff of azaleas.  The tantalizing trailing of lilacs. The petiole petals of a peony.

The bouquet of fabulous fragrances is barricaded by my mask.

To Mask or not To Mask.  I guess that’s a valid question after all.

Dick Weinman is and AARP volunteer and our Assisted Living Guru. He writes this blog as part of his Thin Edge of Dignity Series.


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