Under the best of circumstances, overseeing care of loved ones in a memory care home is emotionally draining. Our loved ones’ care is beyond what we alone can provide. They require a team, and that is what they are getting in their care facilities, along with our love and attention. Yet, it’s difficult to witness their decline and leave them at the end of a visit. Now, to add to the countless heartaches associated with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, COVID-19 takes this difficult but necessary time away from families.
The majority of residents in memory care are elderly. They require extra protection due to their age and compromised health. Most facilities are diligent with sanitation and staff masking and testing. In addition, for the protection of other residents, families are prevented from visiting their loved ones inside the home.
Creativity and current technology offer alternatives to in-person visits. Family members can see their loved one from a distance outside of the building, such as in a garden or on a porch, weather permitting. They may talk to their loved one from outside a window. And of course, visits can be made via phone and video calls.
None of these options allow for the all-important hugs, kisses, and hand-holding. Family members understand the significance of the restrictions and certainly appreciate the protection of their loved one. Other residents’ visitors would risk the health of their loved one. It’s just so very difficult to apply these guidelines to our own loved ones, for us not to have personal contact with them.
My friend, Patti’s, sweet mother resides in the same home that Marshall did. Her illness has progressed considerably over the last year. Patti has been unable to physically be close to her mother through it all.
Patti explains, “This current situation is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking for Mom when she motions through the window for us to come inside to visit. Heart breaking for us that we have to tell her that we cannot come in today, but will very soon, not knowing when soon will be. Heartbreaking for the staff to have to step in for family members as best they can on a daily basis and do so selflessly.
‘I understand that there is an awful pandemic going on, and the safety of our friends and family in memory care is the utmost of importance. I also recognize that days are going by that I will never get back as Mom continues to progress with her Alzheimer’s disease.”
I cried often through the five years Marshall was in memory care, as well as the ten previous years I cared for him at home. Now I cry for families who are separated from their loved ones. It was a great privilege to have so much time to walk with Marshall through the gardens at his home, to read to him in the scattered sitting nooks, and especially, to hold his hand and kiss his cheek as he transitioned to the arms of the Lord. My heart aches for those who are not so blessed.
Photo: The patio at Arden Courts of Geneva, IL.
Have you read my post, “Traditional, Complimentary, and Alternative Remedies?”