Give pause for thought...
Masks, social distancing, isolation, unfamiliarity…I don’t understand
No hugs, handshakes, or shoulder rubs…I don’t understand
Virtual family visits, medical appointments via zoom…I don’t understand
I see eyes, they look familiar…but I’m not sure who you are
the warmth of your arms used to make me feel safe…but now I’m not sure
your special smell I recognized before you entered my room, made me happy…
… but now it’s no longer there
My daughter, son, grandchildren and friends, I may not remember your names, but I did recognize your smile, touch, and smell. Dementia may have robbed me of my memory, critical thinking and problem solving abilities, but Covid-19 robbed me of any sense of security, feelings of love, and joy.
Too many times I have heard expressions of pain by family members not seeing their loved ones for months, whether they lived miles apart and travel was too risky or in facilities that prohibited visitors. All for good reasons, to protect the most vulnerable, but all not without potential harmful consequences, especially for those with dementia.
There are no easy answers for how to make this better for those isolated by dementia and Covid-19 or for those worried sick about the ones they love, or sadness they feel when finally able to see their family members and friends, and realize they have deteriorated at an accelerated rate, because of the isolation. It’s normal to feel sad, angry, or to even second guess your decision to leave them in a facility, but you must be able to move forward, to grieve, forgive yourself, and to accept the limitations brought on by today’s reality. Or to seek professional counseling to help you through this process.
Unfortunately, the Covid-19 virus is still alive and wreaking havoc on today’s world. I’m afraid it is not going away anytime soon. We need to protect our loved ones and ourselves by continuing to wear masks and maintaining social distancing. And even though we are cognitively intact, we may be experiencing many of the same feelings, of those who are not. We all are living in a new and unfamiliar world which we don’t recognize, understand and leaves us yearning for a familiar hug, smile, or dinner at a restaurant with a group of friends.
It’s time to give pause for thought, to have a little more understanding for others and patience for ourselves, but it’s also time to take this virus seriously and follow the recommendations based on science, even when we don’t think it’s necessary.