In Shutting Out Threat, Seniors In Continuing Care Communities Feel Shut In

With tight restrictions in place at their continuing care retirement community, Tom and Janice Showler are getting on each other’s nerves.

Most days, Tom, 76, likes to drive out of their community ― Asbury Springhill in Erie, Pennsylvania — to the store to pick up a few items.

“If you follow the right protocols, the likelihood is quite low that we would come down with coronavirus,” Tom said. “If I didn’t go out at all, I’d feel like the walls were closing in on me.”

Janice, 72, doesn’t think that’s a good idea. She has rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition that raises her risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus. Her father died of pneumonia, and “what terrifies me more than anything is not being able to breathe,” she said.

With her fear and Tom’s need for independence, “it’s become a bit of a power struggle,” Janice admitted.


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