Blessings for a senior citizen on lockdown

Published October 24, 2021, 2:21 AM

by Deedee Siytangco

These months and months of COVID variants, infections, and surges have brought about so much fear, stress, panic, anxiety, and frustration for all of us. When will it all end? We ask ourselves every day while hoping that the virus will soon be vanquished by science and prayers.

True, we have gone down to alert level 3 in the National Capital Region (NCR), and maybe, just maybe, we will go down again another level before Christmas? More malls have reopened, as well as restaurants (which are now permitted to accept dine-in for up to thirty percent capacity), salons, and other retail services that have survived the long periods of lockdowns.

On the first weekend of alert level 3 in NCR, people rushed to recreations areas, especially in Manila. Families brought along their unmasked children, a risky and unhealthy move, even to the fake beach along Roxas Boulevard. Remember, it’s dolomite sand that cost us, taxpayers, millions and millions of pesos.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Benhur Abalos have announced that minors and seniors are still not allowed in parks and malls. It’s the right time to be plantitas and plantitos, I suppose. Seniors could also join art clubs and learn how to paint… online. There are still crocheting, cross-stitching, or watching Netflix or HBO movies. And Korean telenovelas or old Filipino movies to cry over, or to fuss about with your grandchildren, if you are lucky to have one or two living with you!

Why am I grousing? Well, if my readers must know, I am a senior and can no longer go out to malls and parks without a stack of IDs, vaccination cards, and so on. Sadly, we senior citizens over 60 years old don’t seem to count anymore. So difficult to travel outside NCR to the nearby beaches, picnic grounds, or scenic sites without all the fuss. So, we choose to stay home in peace instead.

And to think that seniors above 80 were once hailed, revered, held in awe for having reached their age, healthy, and gracefully.

How long have we [seniors] dutifully paid our taxes during our productive years, and now must suffer the indignities of being an extra or a burden in our communities?

The super blessed seniors are those who have loving sons and or daughters to care for them, and above all make them feel welcome to be part of their own families. I happily belong to this blessed group of seniors but then what about those who are not?

Can they expect their local government unit or the social workers to look in on them and see how they are faring as social “dropouts?” Nah.

I have yet to encounter a Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) worker in my area, except once several months back when two male barangay tanods brusquely knocked on our gate and asked for the senior in the house. I said, “me!” and I was handed a box of ayuda with sardines, a can of milk, and, to my surprise, ₱3,000 cash. A photo was taken with me and the ayuda for proof that a living senior received Mayor Isko’s gift.

Disney Connor

When can I expect a second tranche? I asked. Probably in six months, they said. My first actual cash aid from my local government (LGU) in 21 years. I have officially become a senior citizen.

I am a happy senior citizen, blessed with a loving family and basking in the love of my grandchildren, even if three of them are abroad. I do have my “stress buster” and my vitamin C in my precious, smart, and sporty three-year-old apo, Disney Connor. Yes, he is named after “The Happiest Place on Earth.” And he does make my lockdown life bright, cheerful, and happy!