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                always enjoyed my own company, having no siblings or close family. So, the pandemic isolation was not as difficult for me, perhaps, as others. However, after a few weeks, I was ready for it to end. I still had chores around my apartment, including laundry and cleaning. Several days a week I did therapy exercises for old injuries. I periodically cooked. Hoping to give my brain some exercise, crossword and jigsaw puzzles seemed good choices.
On cool days I navigated the mile surrounding Manor House, sometimes seeing turtles, geese, osprey, and flowers. Shuffleboard in the pavilion was the only activity that offered some socialization.
Although I never felt lonely, it’s my personal observation that isolation has contributed to a decline in my cognitive skills. I have more difficulty recalling names and maintaining a train of thought. At times I am not sure what day it is. Previously, playing mahjong and cards, or eating with friends in the dining room kept those skills sharp. My table of six laughed, caught up on Manor House “news,” and sometimes argued. Occasionally, someone brought a special treat for everyone to enjoy. It was a time to interact, as well as acknowledge other familiar faces in the dining room. At the end of the day, it re-energized my spirit. That camaraderie was gone, and the continued lack of socialization dulled my thinking skills. Will they ever return to pre-pandemic acuity? Only time will tell.
In addition to the loss of cognitive skills, my personal image suffered. Masks made wearing makeup no longer practical. The short walk through the dining room maze to collect my dinner required no special attire or jewelry.
Pre-pandemic, I looked forward to dinner and Sunday brunch.
It gave me a chance to wear makeup, don upscale casual clothes, coordinate my jewelry, and socialize. The half-hour before Sunday brunch was a favorite. Residents, many dressed in their Sunday best, gathered in Town Center to enjoy an adult punch, pastries, and each other’s company. It was an opportunity for me to wear clothes I saved for that day. Dinner and brunch provided the perfect setting to fulfill that and was a boost to my morale. It made me feel happy. Both dinner as I knew it and brunch were gone, leaving me feeling indifferent concerning my appearance.

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