In this blog, Liz Jones talks about her experience of supporting her mother with visiting restrictions and shares some strategies that have been particularly helpful during this outbreak.
My mother is 94 and has severe Alzheimer’s. She lives in extra-care housing (a one-bedroom flat) with lunches provided from Monday to Friday and carer visits between 4 and 6 times a day. My two brothers, my sister and I all visit regularly and my mother has a full social life, with daycare three days per week and regular trips out.
In the last weeks, daycare has closed, one brother (who works in the NHS) has had to stop visiting completely and the rest of us only deliver shopping. All of us are finding it hard. My mother constantly wants to leave the flat and we constantly want to visit; none of us can have our way on this.
What helps? Notices (lots of ‘em) reminding her of the virus and why it’s important to stay home. A careful shopping list (with plenty of treats) so that the cupboard becomes a reminder to eat. A small gift (chocolate, a cake, a bar of soap) tucked into each food delivery, just for the joy of unwrapping a fancy parcel.
The care staff have become her family as well as being professionals; their cheerful courage is remarkable. My toppest tip of all — make friends with the care staff and treat them as equal partners; value their contribution and reward it with thanks, cake or fruit; find a back that needs patting and pat it; and never forget that we only have the luxury of staying safe at home because they are there.
Written by Liz Jones