The Battle Against Coronavirus: Lessons Learned from World War II

By May 15, 2020 No Comments

You may think the coronavirus created a “new normal,” but we’ve seen this all before. Those of us who weathered World War II know a thing or two about surviving a global crisis. These are some of the lessons learned from World War II.

We were born in the midst of a Great Depression. No one was working, and it was all our parents could do to put food on the table. Everything was either rationed, scarce or expensive, and often it was all three. Then, in late December of 1941, still in the grips of the Depression, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, and Germany declared war on the United States. For those of us at home, that meant more shortages: meat, sugar, butter, leather for shoes, and gasoline. We sent our loved ones into battle on the front lines. Then, we started pitching in where we could. Here’s how we survived, and what we learned in the process. These are some of the lessons learned from World War II.


Tips from the Residents of Seashore Gardens Living Center (average age 93 years young)


There will be shortages of equipment. Find a way around that.

In World War II, we were desperate to accelerate production of ships, tanks and bombers. Car manufacturers started making tanks and ammunition. However, there was no rubber for tires, since we had cut off imports. That prompted chemists to invent a whole new industry: synthetic rubber.


Creativity counts in a crisis. Think outside of the box.

We were resourceful at home, too. We would save kitchen fat to make soap. There was a shortage of textiles, so we remade old clothes. Metal zippers were scarce so we created the wrap-around skirt. We adjusted our meals for wartime rationing, with such recipes as eggless cakes, meatless stews and apple pies without apples.


Hotels can be hospitals. Utilize the infrastructure in place.

Our scenic resort of Atlantic City turned its attention from tourists to the war effort. Hotels became barracks. Soldiers trained at Camp Boardwalk. The elegant Chalfonte-Haddon Hall and Traymore Hotels were transformed into Thomas M. England General Hospital.


It’s time to rediscover your work ethic. We can all pitch in.

With our husbands, fathers and sons on the front line, women took over typically male roles. We drove cabs, delivered mail, and worked in factories. Even as kids, we were able to help. We planted Victory gardens and collected metal for recycling.


Don’t just survive. Thrive.

You can let a crisis get the best of you, or you can face it head-on and take control. What got us through World War II was a positive “can-do” attitude and a willingness to pull together for a common cause. Find the bright spots in every day during this pandemic and soon you’ll be looking through a rose-colored lens. It’s a beautiful way to see the world. Trust us; we know.


Creativity Continues at Seashore Gardens Living Center

In that true “can-do” spirit, we’re keeping residents connected, active and engaged at Seashore Gardens Living Center. While we cannot be in the same place with our loved ones, we still want to maintain those important connections with family. That’s why we’ve set up ways for families to send virtual cards to their loved ones and to schedule video visits.


We’re also providing individual activities for our residents such as arts and crafts, puzzles and games. We’re sharing good news stories via our Coronavirus Chronicles. We celebrated Earth Day by giving residents “Hairy Harry” kits to put on their windowsills so that they could watch them grow. If you’d like to see more of what we’re doing, we invite you to follow us on Facebook. These are challenging times but we will get through this together.


Located on 20 acres in Galloway Township, N.J., the Simon & Sylvia Zisman Seashore Gardens Living Center (SGLC) is a nonprofit home for the aged, guided by Jewish tradition, law, and charity, dedicated to enriching the quality of life for its residents. The 125,000 square foot senior Living Center features a continuum of services which include assisted living, short and long term nursing care, Alzheimer’s care, respite care and full rehabilitation services all under one roof.

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