It’s been a week. Rain, rain and more rain has dominated our luscious landscape. While I love the greenness outside of my front and back doors is has been a bit discouraging to not be able to get outside as much as we would like. I think a lot of folks are experiencing the same thing but even more than that I am finding that this kind of weather is just the kind that makes me realize even more how important it is to check in with others to make sure they are okay.
Loneliness during this Covid-19 breakout is a real thing. Chris and I at least have one another but I keep thinking of those who have no one living with them. Or those who don’t have friends or loved ones who are checking in with them occasionally. It is a very tough time for both the social people and those who prefer the quieter life. Just because someone likes a quiet life does not mean that they can not be lonely and sad during this time.
Things have changed so dramatically. Even in states where things are opening up slowly it does not mean that everyone is comfortable moving forward in the manner that their state is moving. Many of us are still feeling the need to take extra precautions and move a little bit more slowly towards reopening. That is okay. I have adopted the attitude that everyone just has to decide for themselves what makes them comfortable. If I am not comfortable going to businesses that don’t require masks – I should not go there.
What really has hit it home with me is realizing the loneliness that residents in care facilities must be experiencing. I have read several articles and know from my training that residents in these facilities thrive more when there are opportunities for interaction. Stimulation is vital to both physical and mental health and during this time these activities have been curtailed out of necessity to keep residents safe.
My own mom is in a memory care unit and has been confined to her room since the March lock down. While I am grateful for that I am also aware that it is not ideal. We got news this week that she was confused in the bathroom and this ended up in another fall. Fortunately she did not hurt herself badly and the scrape on her head will heal over time. It reinforced in my mind that with the residents having to be confined to their rooms there are more opportunities for things like falls to happen. The staff simply can not be with each resident 24 hours a day. When they were able to have activities there were a lot more opportunities for them to keep eyes on their residents. They were engaged more. Engaged residents mean happier residents.
This has been weighing on me this week a great deal. I know that they are doing all that they can to keep their residents safe and stimulated but I also have been cautioned that the decline mentally and physically during this time has accelerated more due to the isolation. I cannot help but think about how lonely my mom must be. During most of our visits over the past 2 years she has related how no one comes to visit her and that she is lonely. While she did have visitors and just does not remember I know that the loneliness is real.
Right now we are not allowed to send flowers, packages or even mail and that is the way that I had at least felt a little bit connected to her. Her room is situated behind a walled in courtyard so waving from a window is not possible. Phone calls have not worked with her for quite a while and a video call would probably actually cause more confusion than helpfulness at this time. So I trust that she is being cared for, that the long hours are filled with something and that she is able to find happiness in something simple every single day.
Loneliness. It is real. It can happen anytime but during a pandemic where self isolation is key to staying healthy it is even more of an issue. Take care of yourself. Call a friend. Reach out. Tell someone if you need something. Don’t let loneliness get to be too much. If you don’t have someone to talk to about it drop me a note and I will reach out to you. Stay well, my friends, both physically and mentally.