INDIANAPOLIS — Robert Bates is a survivor.
The Hoosier native was a young man, serving as an air force mechanic in World War II when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Bates, 19 at the time, was one of only three men from his company to survive the attack on that fateful day.
Returning home to Indiana after the war, Bates raised a family and devoted his career to serving others as a postal worker. He first came to American Village, part of American Senior Communities, in 2011 for rehabilitation and he returned to the campus in 2015 as a long-term care resident.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread through communities across the nation, Bates was not spared. Having tested positive for COVID-19, he recently spent weeks in the Indianapolis VA Hospital battling double pneumonia at 98 years of age.
Once cleared to return home, he rejoined his American Village family in recovery mode.
According to Director of Nursing, Ashley Collins, “Robert has never given up his fight and he is getting stronger every day.”
Collins and Bates are close friends; as his CARE companion, Collins regularly joins him for breakfast where they often talk about Colts football, their shared passion.
Returning to American Village after his COVID battle, Bates had lost both weight and strength but thanks to the dedication of his American Village team of care givers, he is making progress on his road to recovery.
Under the guidance of occupational and speech therapists, Bates is regaining his appetite and working on his mobility.
He’s affectionately referred to as Paw Paw by those closest to him and hearing “Paw Paw, you can do it!” always makes him give his best effort.
When asked how he’s survived his recent bout with COVID, Bates humbly says, “God and the love of my family keep me going every day. Life is a blessing and I still have some living to do!”