Monday, December 28, 2020

Life Is Hard at the Nursing Home


We are fortunate to be able to stay home where we have plenty of food, cleaner, paper towels, and enough toilet paper to take us through the next couple of months. Who knew back in March that our lives would become topsy-turvy throughout the remainder of the year?

Staying at home hasn’t been easy for a lot of folks during the pandemic that started far, far away but migrated to our hometowns. At first, I thought we were safe here in rural Missouri, but it didn’t take long before the virus infested friends, family, and neighbors. Some came through with minor symptoms, but sadly, some died.


Life has become hard for essential workers, parents turned teachers, those quarantined, people sickened from the virus, people who need “elective” surgery, and those who are unbearably lonely. Many of us are home alone and miss our families.


 If you have followed my blog throughout the years, you know that I always encouraged families to visit loved ones in nursing homes. Residents of nursing homes have been hard hit by the virus, and 40% of the deaths are in those homes. Staff has become vigilant and many do not allow visitors at all. The goal is to keep residents safe.


I think back to when Jim was in the nursing home. Our family pulled together to see that he ate. He had to be fed and did not do well unless a family member was there. I bathed him, toileted him, and made sure he was dry and comfortable. I’m not sure how I would have handled not being able to provide that extra care for him, and I know that he would have suffered.


A lot of people think that a person with dementia doesn’t need visitors. “He doesn’t know who I am” or “She keeps asking the same question even after I answer” or “I can’t stand to see him like that.” In normal times, these were just excuses. In the year 2020, those people may wished they had visited when they could. I was always comfortable that Jim knew I was someone important in his life even if he didn’t know exactly who I was. I do know that there were times when his eyes lit up in recognition, and those times more than made up for the times he tried to ignore me.


I feel so sad for the people in nursing homes. I have a friend who is in a nursing home and she reports being on lockdown in her room from time to time when another resident tests positive for Covid-19. I’ve heard that the first nursing home Jim was in has had several Covid deaths. What a heartbreaking and worrisome situation for staff and families.


As my mom always says, “This too shall pass.” We will get through these tough times and emerge stronger. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found I can do without shopping, eating out, and makeup. I’m having a much harder time without hugs, coffee with friends, and our annual girl’s trip. Most of all, I miss normal.


I look forward to when families can visit their loved ones in nursing homes, when we can have family reunions, and hold our loved ones tight to our hearts.  


Copyright © December 2020 by L.S. Fisher


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