• May 27, 2020

Lincoln Tower residents see lifestyle changes during coronavirus pandemic - Odessa American: Local News

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Lincoln Tower residents see lifestyle changes during coronavirus pandemic

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Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2020 4:54 pm

Life at Lincoln Tower, an independent living facility for retirees located in the middle of downtown Odessa, has seen its share of disruption.

“I think everybody’s probably mad at the situation,” resident Judy Harkey said. “They understand it, but they don’t like it. Everybody knows this is the state that we’re in.”

Among the biggest changes has been the suspension of serving meals in a communal dining room. For the past week, meals have been delivered to residents’ apartments. Another change has been limiting visitation to essential visitors such as caregivers and healthcare providers.

For Jack Harkey, Judy’s husband, such precautions are necessary despite any hardships they may cause.

“I have no problem with the way it’s being handled,” he said. “I think that our government is doing a fine job, from the city and county officials to the governor to the president. I think it’s being handled like it needs to be handled. Yes, it’s inconvenient, but what’s not? There’s a lot of things that get inconvenient.

“I’m not being able to (drive for) Uber right now because the doctor said I can’t. So I’m stuck here in the building along with everybody else. That’s the way it is. We go get what we can when we can. It’ll all work out.”

Mobility was already an issue for some residents, a situation compounded by Lincoln Tower’s suspension of bus service and a weekly shopping excursion.

“I think we’ve limited the going out,” Louise Chambers said. “I just go when it’s absolutely necessary, when it’s something I have to have. It’s put a strain on everybody, not being able to do what they please, but we realize this is necessary to keep this thing from spreading.”

Resident Mike Bates, who is blind and does not drive, has made up for the loss of shopping trips by ordering online — he was awaiting his first delivery on Tuesday.

“I’m going out a lot. I’m walking about four miles a day,” Bates said. “But once I get here, I get depressed up in my room. When I can get out and walk a little bit, I’ll be fine. This is really the best place for me.

“Not being able to get to my doctor is a problem. I’m not going to die, but that bothers me. Getting prescriptions renewed ... they refresh them, but the doctor’s not there.”

For Chambers and other residents, it’s not the first time life has undergone sudden change.

“I grew up in World War II,” she said. “The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and we didn’t know where or who would bomb us next. Everything was rationed, food, clothing. Travel was restricted. But people didn’t panic like they have with this. We just handled it. Nobody complained about it.”

Judy Harkey said having such life experience makes it easier for older residents to deal with the situation.

“I think the difference is from World War II is we’ve become such a spoiled society,” she said. “Back then, they were still not that far off the Depression, so they understood a little bit.

“The young ones now, from probably 70 down, didn’t go through anything like that so they don’t know how to handle it. We went through oilfield busts, but nothing like this.”

Bates said taking the necessary precautions to maintain personal health in the face of the outbreak is a priority.

“You’ve just got to make the best of it and take your medications,” he said. “Check your blood pressure and temperature and everything every day and just not get sick.”

Odessa, TX

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