I called her to wish her a good night, and Maruxa, frightened and her television on at full volume said, «How well I felt at your house.» «Why is that, mom?» I asked. «Well, since you don’t have a TV, I don’t have to see tragedies.» And then I thought about how complex this stage has to be for those who some time ago underwent their own «new normal» when they had to learn to depend on others. I thought about how fortunate we had been because, for the first time in many years, we could be together when we needed each other most. But I also thought about her companions at the Asociación de Familiares de Enfermos de Alzhéimer in Ourense (Family Association of Alzheimer Patients in Ourense, or AFAOR), and about my mother’s smile after she «went to work» there.
Maruxa returned to her home after being quarantined for some time in mine. She returned to her normal with the hope that she would resume her routines. She reconnected with her activities at the Asociación de Viúvas María Andrea (Widows’ Association María Andrea), an organization that launched a beautiful volunteer initiative during the period of confinement. But the reality is that this de-escalation in which we find ourselves does not affect people who, like her, need cognitive stimulation to avoid further deterioration. It seems that the senior centers won’t be able to open until September, and even though one understands the complexity of this situation, especially in cases of dementia, one cannot stop asking oneself what is happening with those people who depend on these centers to attempt to slow down an illness without a cure.
And at the heart of the wine district in Ourense, where the nocturnal new normal is as noisy as the previous normal, we keep our fingers crossed so that the oldest inhabitants of the most aged province in Spain will be able to get back to their lives in the same way as those enjoying the bars again.