An elderly woman, suffering from advancing dementia, undergoes a change of residence from the top floor of her seniors’ home to the locked care floor of the same building.
Imagine the changes that she struggles to deal with.
She leaves a comfortable, expensive, well-furnished, two-bedroom apartment with a large pantry, two huge bedroom closets, an entry closet, fridge, stove, washer and dryer, and a balcony to sit on in the summer.
She moves into an expensive, full-care, single room with one entry closet, and a bathroom.
She now sleeps in the provided single bed.
She has a dresser, a wardrobe, a lounge chair and a desk with its chair. She asks me where her two grandsons will sleep. Or sit. When they visit. She doesn’t realize that they probably never will.
We know/feel relieved that she will now be safe from fires and falls and other pitfalls. She is well cared for 24 hours a day.
We also know/hope that this sad reality is one that she will adapt to, and learn to accept, and even enjoy.
Enter the C-19 panic with its ever-changing, and supposedly life-saving regulations.
Imagine this scenario:
- She now eats her three daily meals alone in her small room, at her small desk.
- She cannot – for the time being? – leave the floor – neither alone, nor accompanied.
- She cannot leave her room without a blue medical mask.
- She cannot have anyone in her room unless both are wearing an approved (not cloth) medical mask.
- She must always maintain a two meter distance from anyone who visits.
- She must never share a meal or a drink with a visitor.
- She may receive only one visitor, once, over the span of a day.
Indeed she is truly locked down and locked in. And I am indeed locked out of her life as she knew it.
Now imagine getting this woman to comprehend this situation, and to remember the rules, and to abide by them. And to put up with the constant, never-ending reminders.
The bottom line is that this feisty elderly woman is, indeed, locked up, locked away from life, and lonely. To say nothing of angry and afraid.
(And she is one of the privileged ones who can afford this care.)
This reality makes me very sad.