April 26, 2020: The night before Lisa Hardesty’s post-vaccination reunion with her 101-year-old grandmother, she felt like the night before she went to an amusement park when she was a little girl.
“I can’t wait to hug her,” Hardesty, 54, said a few days earlier. “The level of excitement is like you’re planning an exciting and stressful holiday until the night before, and then you’re so excited you can’t sleep. We haven’t had it in the last year. “
On the day of the meeting, Hardesty and her 17-year-old daughter, Payton, were waiting in front of a restaurant in the city of Holloway, MN, a 97-year-old population, dizzy with anticipation. When the mother and daughter finally spotted 101-year-old Elaine through the car window, they started running at her “like a celebrity,” Hardesty says.
“They couldn’t even stop the car before we hugged it,” says Hardesty, who is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Mayo Clinic in Mankato, MN. “Everyone was talking about everyone. We weren’t able to pull out our stories fast enough. It was such a great joy. “
With vaccines at a much faster pace than expected, families and friends reunite safely after a year or more of separation. Most meetings are full of joy, hugs and laughter that describe the Hardestys. But there is also concern and anxiety, especially before the events, and this is also normal, say psychologists and doctors.
“The social insulation and the increase in loneliness that people experienced as a result of COVID-19 is one of the most devastating aspects of the pandemic“Says Scott Kaiser, MD, director of geriatric cognitive health for the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. Now that vaccines they have paved the way for safe meetings, “there is a wide range of emotions. For the most part, it is relief and exuberance and joy to be together again. But that contains a lot of emotions. “
Imagine a new mother bringing a baby home for the first time, Kaiser says. “Of course, other people want to know so much about the baby,” she says. “And that can be great for mom and baby, but it can also be a double-edged sword.” The new mother, who has just gone through a massive change, wants to protect the vulnerable newborn and, moreover, has probably run out. Now that we’ve all experienced massive changes, “we’re still vulnerable,” Kaiser says. “We don’t know what people live physically and emotionally.”