We recently published an article on human adaptability in chaos, and our recent discussion with septuagenarians highlighted the ability of people to pivot regardless of age.
The group spoke about changing the way they socialise:
“I’ve been playing with my grandchildren, playing [games online]. And we were having a virtual party, so I’d have my dinner ready and then join them for a conversation. So it’s been OK. We started this on Wednesday, and it’s lovely playing with them online.”
“We’ve had a group set up, a neighbourhood Facebook group. Anzac Day was outstanding. One of our neighbours put up a lot of poppies and organised for a bugle player to come out and do ‘The Last Post’. So we all went out at five to 6:00 with candles at the front of our driveways. She was on a corner block so there were probably five or six families that all participated in Anzac Day so that was fantastic.”
Changing the way they shop:
“I’m quite lucky because I do see my family, we keep our distance but I do see the ones that live here. They do my shopping. And I’ve managed to get shopping online! Which I think is quite an achievement. I’ve never done it before… Online shopping has been interesting because I don’t get tempted to buy anything. I just buy what I order online. I don’t buy that chocolate bar that’s on offer that I could at the supermarket.”
Although they have been able to adapt to life at home, not all the changes will endure as social distancing restrictions lift:
“I prefer going to the shops. If I buy wine, I tend to buy that online. But that’s the only thing. I go to the local green grocer for my produce, and I don’t buy any green groceries from the supermarket. When I do go shopping, I always try to buy South Australian produce. Your Green Gully, Maggie Beer. I think I’ll probably keep doing the same as I have been doing.”
“I’ve got plenty of work to do because I’m a member of a board of directors for an international organisation and we’ve been meeting online as well. We’ve had lots of meetings and I am attending to many emails. So it gives me time to do that. Like all, I do other volunteer work and miss that too. You miss that company and that you’ve got some meaningful stuff going on in your life. This I can do from home and it’s great but I do miss going out and volunteering too.”
There is hope that the goodwill and collaboration within communities will continue:
“I think we probably will end up caring for each other a bit more. It’s ever present in our minds, about people who are isolated or elderly or not doing so well. We’ll be making sure that we touch base with them and it doesn’t matter who you talk to you say, ‘Stay safe, stay well.’ Somehow we’ve got a heightened sense of caring for other people.”
This group, like most others, miss socialising and visiting family and friends. But the resilience and positivity of these of older Australians goes to show that adaptation transcends age. Read about our previous discussions with other age groups to make sense of our world today.