Arizona seniors say they feel expendable during the pandemic

Seniors feel expendable during the pandemic

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The majority of people who have died from COVID-19 in Arizona have been 65-years of age and older.

So when the Governor announced last month that he was opening up the state, there was a sense of panic among many seniors.

“It’s ageism, older people don’t matter, we’re disposable,” said 70 year old Lavina Tomer. “We’re going to die anyway.”

Even a politician in Texas suggested it would be okay for seniors to give themselves up to re-open the economy.

It didn’t sit well for most seniors.

“I think every life is valuable,” said 75-year-old Donna Butcher, a volunteer at the Pima County on Aging. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a newborn or 89-years-old.”

For many of the seniors, they have to do things in fear, things they used to take for granted.

“When I go to the grocery store, I’m really nervous about it,” Tomer said. “There’s a lot of anxiety.”

Especially since so many people don’t wear masks.

“I feel angry about the circumstance,” she said. “But it’s out of my control.”

For others, it’s the loss of the little things.

“We’re kind of restricted where we can go, we can’t take our grandchildren to the playground, little things like that,” Butcher said.

She sits in her front yard in the community talking to people, at a socially acceptable distance of course, in order to have some company.

But other things, have sort of gone by the wayside.

“I used to look forward to going out shopping and just leisurely taking my time,” she said. “But it doesn’t feel that welcoming anymore.”

As for Tomer, she has a spouse, which helps, but she also is searching for a way to replace the world which is gone now.

“I’m lonely psychologically because I live in a world that doesn’t care,” she said. “That makes me lonely.”

And for others, while the world is fighting discrimination in mass protests around the country, they sit knowing they can’t protest. It’s frustrating.

“Because I think all people matter and age should not be a deciding factor,” Butcher said.

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