Senior lock down during coronavirus
Is one of the personal experiences which led me to create Keeping it REAL Caregiving.
Courtesy KHSL-TV in Chico, California, this story captures just some of the challenges I, and many others faced once coronavirus took hold. The impact was felt especially hard for those of us with elder loved ones living in care facilities. Not to mention the staggering death toll for our elders.
At the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, most Assisted Living Facilities and Skilled Nursing Homes put policies in place to limit or prohibit the entry to the facilities for anyone who was not considered “essential workers.” Try as I might to figure out how to get inside to visit with and see my mother, the health risks were simply too great.
And remember, at that time [spring of 2020] doctors, researchers and policy makers were still trying to figure out how to fight back. The theory was senior lock down during coronavirus was the best approach.
So close but so far
These restrictions meant that many of us, as family members, were effectively physically cut off from our elders. The feeling was one of helplessness , frustration and anger. Knowing that my mother was so close, but so far was difficult. We were separated by windows, doors, fences and in some cases, all communication was moved to only virtual settings.
I still remember the day I went to visit my mother and snapped the photo of her through the window. She looked so small and frail sitting in her wheelchair and the reflection sort of shimmered through the glass. In that moment, I believe I captured the heartache, sadness and fear experienced by many who could no longer be close to their elders.
Keep in mind, at this stage in one’s life, being close to and with those you love can be more important than ever. As a daughter, I decided right then and there I would figure out any and all ways to still ‘see’ my mother. We managed to say hello and wave through a lobby door, or I would sit outside her window and talk to her on the phone. But how horrible and painful to not be able to hug her, hold her hand or comb her hair.
Because I am a journalist and deal with facts
I was able to make sense of this emotional time by focusing on work and trying to help others. It is only now, more than a year later, I realize just how horrible it was to not be able to spend the last months of my mother’s life WITH HER, but rather kept apart because of this deadly virus.
Do you have an experience or story of how you and your loved ones managed through the worst of the pandemic? What steps did you take to provide a safe environment for your loved one – or – were you one of the thousands of family members who lost an elder to covid-19?
I would love to hear from you and learn more about your journey.
Email me at [email protected]