22-year old Hannah Haein Kim is a student at Cal State LA. She lives with her parents and 17-year old brother in LA's Koreatown. On April 14, her grandmother moved in with the family — to keep her safe from COVID-19's spread into nursing homes. Hannah chronicles the family's journey in a series of essays and audio diaries she produced as part of the Gen by Gen project with the Koreatown Youth and Community Center in Los Angeles.
April 17, 2020
My grandma came to live with us yesterday. Before her arrival, her crooked, old medical bed came first and we crammed it into our living room. We live four to a two-bedroom apartment in a part of Koreatown that hasn’t been gentrified yet. News broke last week that most of the senior convalescent centers have been infected with the coronavirus. The Korean radio station warned the public to take our grandparents home as soon as possible. In no time, my mom sprang into action and yesterday, my grandma, who has stayed at the Olympic Convalescent Center for more than five years, has finally gotten a change of scenery.
I guess you could say it’s bittersweet. It’s nice to have my family all together in one space, but at the same time I feel sad. My grandma has dementia and has lost the ability to walk. She cannot speak or go to the restroom by herself. We used to visit her at the center every other day and we would see only a glimpse of what it takes to care for the elderly. Now, my mom and I have to do everything. Watching my mom struggle to care for her own mother is, for lack of a better word, depressing.
With the quarantine in effect, my dad cannot run his small, acupuncture clinic. He is qualified to remain open because it’s considered “medical help,” but we had to make the difficult decision to close. My dad is almost seventy years old and we thought it’d be too risky for him and our family. We thought we’d be fine for a little bit, but you know what they say — even though work stops, expenses run on.