By Joe Riley
Now nearing my 80th year on this planet, I was a baby born in an air raid shelter during World War II. I consider myself a product of the relatively pleasant Elvis Presley and Beatle mania era. I have been cooped up for the past 4 months due to ageism on what is supposed to be Paradise Island. At my age I am not allowed outside the door, I am considered infantile or is it irresponsibility? Or do I not have the faculties to know the difference between right and wrong? These days I cry easily and often feel sad to the point of being depressed. I try to lose myself doing paintings that are meaningless. You get to that stage where reflection in times of solitude is not a good thing, you ponder on issues that are not often there.
It would appear that the extended lockdown for older people is because we are more likely to become seriously ill and die if we contract the virus, compared to younger age groups. In a world of supposed freedom, the choice of living or dying is my choice, I thought so and maybe I am confused and irresponsible, so others must make that choice for me. The latter part of that sentence I feel is abhorrent to say the least.
The proposition by governments worldwide is that everyone beyond a certain age puts their life on hold and hunkers down for many months or longer is, by definition, ageist and deeply objectionable. A big question that arises though is whether it’s those advocating an elongated lockdown for older people who are being ageist–or the virus itself.
I am distressed at the way I have been treated by a global blanket policy, not just on the aged, but the populace in general. We older people are being discriminated against during this terrible health crisis when being treated fairly and individually may well be a matter of life and death. If I cannot go for a walk, swim, go shopping or play golf it is time to call it what it is “discrimination against the aged” and call it what it is “selective isolation of the elderly”. The evidence by many medical experts is that we are suffering from a kind of flu that will not go away. It will be around for the next five to 10 years and the vaccine will need to change each year as it mutates. Do you want to be locked down for the next five to 10 years? The real question is: is that your choice or the politicians’? What about your rights as a human being?
I also wrote an article some months ago on the prevention of COVID-19. At the time of the article there were three studies done with patients of COVID-19 statistics. One in Madrid, and further studies in Sweden. The results were staggering, those patients with high levels of interleukin 6 had a high mortality rate. The conclusion was that low interleukin 6 may slow the rate of infection. Now the question is, what lowers interleukin 6 levels in the blood to lower the infection rate? The answers are, two things, simple zinc tabs and vitamin D will lower interleukin 6 and lower the rate of infection. I do not ask you to believe me, go and look this up for yourself. Statics do not lie, zinc costs a few pesos and we are blessed that vitamin D is free, just get some sunlight.
And finally, there are the consequences on mental health. Keeping me apart from families, friends and the wider community for a prolonged period is a recipe for deep unhappiness, depression and loneliness. This lockdown, I believe has changed my personality, I’m not the Joe that I was.
May I suggest that I and other older people should be treated as we are, experienced, individual human beings, provide us with the best information available. We can then take the responsibility for making our own decisions about how to live our lives, in the fullest possible understanding of the likely impact on the elderly, on our families and others around us–just like everyone else.