Growing Old, Alone

As the country plunged into a deep and unusual economic recession last year, it also plunged into a deep and unusual social recession: atomizing families and friends, evaporating hours of laughter and care and touch.


“When we look back on this in the years to come, I imagine there’s going to be a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking around whether it was a good idea to blockade older adults in their nursing-home rooms for eight, nine, 10 months out of the year, without letting them have access to their families,” David Grabowski, a professor of health-care policy at Harvard Medical School, told me. “I think we’re going to look back and say, What the hell were we doing?” What we were doing was failing to save seniors’ lives or maintain their livelihoods.


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