COVID-19 Day 21

COVID-19 Day 21:  My dad’s senior living community has been in quarantined for 21 days.  No outside visitors are welcome.  During these trying times of having to stay-at-home, social distancing and mask wearing, not seeing older family members is yet another stressor.  I have a co-worker whose mom tested positive and was quarantined to her room for 14 days.  She is now recovered and able to join the rest of the community.  The distancing from our loved ones who are the most at risk adds to the uncertainty of the current situation.

I talked to dad yesterday and his only question was “what is it like out there?”.  It seems like a funny question until you consider the isolation he is experiencing.  The information and misinformation on the news contradicts by the hour.  The view from his window is of the mall which has little to no activity due to the shutdown.  The world around him is almost non-existent in comparison to normal.  He doesn’t mention being concerned and I avoid asking because then I would have to face my own fears.

When I sit at home alone I can almost pretend things are normal.  Going through a regular daily routine causes me to forget.  Then I turn on the news and reality hits again.  Hearing of older, high risk patients going into the hospital and the family never seeing them again scares me.  Dad has COPD and asthma, a double whammy if he contracts COVID-19.  I hope for the best but fear the worst.  I can’t visit and if he gets sick, will I be able to see him before he goes into isolation?  If this nasty flu takes its toll, will I be like so many other family members who don’t get a chance to say good-bye?

So, what should we do?  Social distancing, washing hands and wearing a mask are now part of every day.  I call dad often and encourage other family members to do the same.  I suggested to the grandchildren that their art project could be to make signs and stand outside his building to show that we are here and thinking of him.   Maybe we can teach him to video chat, although we have failed in explaining it so far.

I do know that when I see him again I will hug him every time I see him.  I will take more time to ask how he is doing and go to see him more often.  We have all discovered things that we just took for granted.  We can only hope that the memory of this will stay long after the new “normal” settles in.

To my dad and family, I love you and miss seeing you.  Until we can hug again.

Introduction-Life with Dad: A Daughter’s Journey

 

I have often thought of writing about my experiences being the caregiver for my dad.  After much encouragement I am going to start.   It is estimated that one in five baby boomers care for an aging parent.  Often this happens right as we become empty nesters.  We raise our children and hopefully send them off on their own.  It’s time to enjoy the “golden years” and then it happens; mom and/or dad falls or becomes ill and life changes.

For me, it was a doctor’s appointment in January 2012.  Mom asked me to go to the doctor appointment with her to get the results from some tests done before the holidays.  I was not prepared for the news, but mom had her suspicions.  It was cancer, but not just any cancer it was Pancreatic.  I left the office and got in my car.  I drove through town crying the whole way home.  What now?? 

See, my mom was my dad’s caregiver.  He has dementia.   Life was about to change.

The last eight years have had their highs and lows.  There have been challenges both expected and unexpected.  I’ve learned about home healthcare, hospice, VA medical and even how to give shots in the abdomen.   Along the way I also learned about the issues many seniors face as they age.  My experiences are a major influence in my choice to help seniors and their families navigate later-in-life moves. 

My hope is to bring you a few laughs about my journey with dad along with insights and information about issues faced by seniors, their adult children and caregivers.  I would love to hear from you.  If you have questions, let me know and I will attempt to address them in future blogs.

Welcome to the journey.