The Southwest Journal is documenting the coronavirus pandemic by recording the personal stories of Minneapolis residents and workers whose daily lives are in a state of flux. As the outbreak evolves, we will be checking in with the participants regularly. Read all of the stories here.
All interviews are edited for length and clarity.
Arminta and Ron Miller, residents, The Waters on 50th senior living community
Arminta: If people want to be tested, they can be tested here next week. But I don’t want to. It’s our choice; they told us we didn’t have to. How about you, Ron?
Arminta: If we did, we’d have to both do it.
Ron: I think we’re taking the right precautions, taking care of ourselves. The Waters is doing everything they can. I don’t think at this time it’s necessary.
Arminta: There are people who wanted it, so it’s good they’re doing it. We still don’t have any cases; everything’s good here so far.
They’re opening up the beauty salon in August with two new people, not the ones who had been here before. Ron wants to get his hair cut, and he’s going to check out the people.
Ron: We have to check out the quality of workers before we make a commitment.
Arminta: When he gets a haircut, he looks like he’s absolutely shaven, so he wants to make sure he likes the person and that they’ll listen to him.
They opened up the exercise rooms, and I ride 20 minutes on the bike three days a week, and Ron rides 20 minutes on the bike and then does 20 minutes on the machines — there are about six machines in there. So we’re working out pretty good!
We’ve got this grid which different floors use to sign up for exercise. I don’t know how they’re making out the grids! Whoever is figuring it out is amazing, because it’s very complicated.
On Sunday our granddaughter is coming from Chicago and we’re going to meet her in the garden at the gate. This will be the first time we’ve done that. We have to be 6 feet apart and wear masks, but we’re really excited. I hope it doesn’t rain.
There’s a new program from the Minnesota Department of Health. They’re saying we can have one designated caregiver, a family member, who can come in. They’d have to take a test and wear a mask and special glasses and leave the door open while they’re in the apartment.
The Waters is asking us how we feel about that. I don’t think we’re going to do it. We’re lucky because we can go out on our balcony and see our daughters if they want to visit and sit out on the boulevard.
But I know there are people who feel really cooped up, and I sympathize with them because you can only read so many books and watch so many TV shows and do so much cleaning.
They’re trying to open up more Skype and FaceTime for people to see their family members.
Ron: But they haven’t explained the concept yet of how they’re going to do that. When the average age is about 86, people don’t have the equipment or wisdom to be able to do video chats. It’s called a coming attraction.
Arminta: For us, we do get bored. There aren’t many places to go. We’ve been talking, though. We used to walk around the lake every day. We were thinking it would be really fun to go have lunch down by Lake Harriet. We could even bring our own lunch and stay clear of people and wear our masks and be vigilant. It would be a nice afternoon. That is my dream.
Ron: We have small dreams.
Arminta: We have a lot to look forward to when things straighten out, but it doesn’t look real good, does it?
VOICES FROM THE PANDEMIC
- Barb Joyce, infection preventionist, Jones-Harrison senior living
- Marcia Zimmerman, rabbi, Temple Israel
- Arminta and Ron Miller, residents, Waters on 50th senior living community
- Tracey Schultz, science teacher, Clara Barton Open School
- Peter Kumasaka, Linden Hills, emergency room physician
- Jen and Marcus Wilson, co-owners, True Grit Society gym
- Marion Greene, board chair, Hennepin County
- Jesse Vasquez, Uptown resident
You can read all of the stories here.