Covid-19 and how it has affected the Queets elders


Kristeen Mowitch

Faculty Mentor(s)

Naomi Petersen


About fifty of the Quinault Indian Nation elders reside in the small community of Queets, Washington. With the pandemic beginning outside of the community and eventually reaching it has been extremely uncomfortable for the elders; who have been identified as the most vulnerable population by both the state and the health officials for our tribe. The nearest hospital is forty-five miles away and the community as a whole relies on an ambulance for transportation. The responding ambulance is usually takes no less than an hour to arrive. Many rely on the Quinault Nation’s programs to help them with resources and some even more with transportation to medical appointments, essentials, etc.

From the arrival of COVID-19 in the U.S in January of 2020 and continuing into the year 2021; many things in the elder’s services through the Quinault Nation have changed. During the last twelve months, the pandemic has moved from being a face-to-face resource to contactless services.

Many of our elders have an underlying condition. These underlying conditions may include diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure or heart conditions. Contracting the virus would be extremely devasting for both the elder, family and tight-knit community.

The goal throughout this research is to document the changes and various aspects that Covid-19 has affected the elders within the Queets community over the course of twelve months. I have done this through firsthand experience as both a community member and an employee of the senior program while frequently working closely with the elders.

Keywords: PANDEMIC, ELDERS, SERVICES, academic service, learning, diversity, or sustainability


4 thoughts on “Covid-19 and how it has affected the Queets elders”

  1. Hi Kristeen,
    Great job with your presentation. It was heartbreaking to hear how much the pandemic has affected your community, program, and elders. I think the program is wonderful, and it’s sad that you haven’t been able to do as much during the pandemic, but I’m so glad you’re still there doing things like checking in on them, doing essential shopping, etc. as much as you can. I particularly like your idea of improving communication, training people how to use technology to benefit them, and setting up a hotline. Something like a hotline for less urgent issues than 9-1-1 seems that it would definitely be helpful, and would stay useful even after the pandemic is over.

    Angela Congdon

  2. Hi Kristeen,
    Thanks for educating us on how Covid has affected the elders at your workplace. What stood out to me the most is how isolation led to depression and boredom. Having social interactions is so important for mental health, so I can see how this led to greater depression. I imagine especially for the elders who live alone that their mental health would suffer so much from the pandemic. I loved the recommendations you brought up! Having an elders only Pandemic hotline is a great way to increase accessibility to mental health services. I also thought your idea of having training for tech devices is great because technology helps us communicate even when in isolation. This would be a great way to allow help them to keep in touch with their loved ones. Great job on your project!

  3. Hi Kristeen,
    Your presentation was very informative! I appreciate the amount of detail and data included in your project. A lot of the findings and recommendations would be applicable to other people providing elder support. Great job!

  4. Hi Kristeen!
    Thank you so much for your informative and heartfelt presentation! As you share that you are the only program staff person, it brings to light just how vulnerable these critical services are for elders and the severity of the pandemic forcing a pivot from providing in-person services to distanced and contactless. I really appreciate the three questions you pose regarding the experiences of the elders over a year of the pandemic around their quality of life (QoL), how services are provided, and how all of these factors have “affected the elders” (Mowitch, 2021). Your discussion and research reveal the challenges that arise when the need for services increases while the ability to provide wellness services is diminished simultaneously.
    Is the presentation only 4:34 minutes? Was the recording cut short? It seems to have an abrupt ending. From what I saw, it is well-organized and designed. You make a nice incorporation of photos — what a beautiful area to live in! I also really appreciate how your narrative personalizes your presentation and discussion of the crisis at hand. While providing concrete facts, you also convey the emotional weight of the situation.

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