COVID-19 has affected every single aspect of our lives and people are wary and stressed. Our lives have been turned upside down and as a final blow, nursing homes have had to close the doors to visitors. If WE don’t know where the world is going imagine your loved one in a nursing home with dementia or even at home with a caregiver it must terrifying and lonely.
It’s devastating, but to keep them safe it has to be done. creating a plan beforehand can save you many headaches on Thanksgiving Day. I’ll never forget an image I saw on a show and it was a woman standing outside of the nursing home. You see, her husband was inside because he had had surgery and now couldn’t come out and she couldn’t go in. She talked to him through the closed window as they both cried their eyes out.
The first thing you have to do is throw out your preconceived idea of what Thanksgiving should be and embrace what actually is.
Both kids and elderly people sense our stress without you ever saying a word. If I was stressed about anything momma knew it and she would be agitated which created two problems.
Zoom is all we have so you need to find out what you need to do to accomplish that.
Things to ask the nursing home.
- Does your loved one have access to Wi-Fi and if so does the nursing home set it up or will you have to walk them through it?
- Does your loved one have access to a computer or will you need to provide one for them?
- Is there someone there that can help them throughout for technical glitches?
- Is there a certain time when someone is available and if so do you need to make an appointment?
- Is it possible to choose their meal or have it delivered if desired?
- Can we do a practice run before the big day?
- Will there be a lot of background noise? Is there a quiet space available for your time period?
Getting the answer to these questions can save you many headaches and heartaches on Thankgsiving.
Here some tips to help you plan out your visit and make it a success.:
- Try to recreate some traditions as best you can. Show pictures or talk about older times just remanence and spend time talking.
- Plan to have your visit early in the day. Share a Thanksgiving lunch or even brunch. The feelings will remain the same but you’ll have a much more enjoyable time all of you. Sundowning generally starts in the afternoon and gets steadily worse as the day progresses.
- Keep the visits short. Try to make your visits one-on-one if possible, as their ability to communicate diminishes as the day goes on. Alzheimer’s patients and the elderly in general get overwhelmed easily. I remember how rowdy some of our Thanksgiving was when the whole family got together. You’ll have a much better visit if you limit the number of people on at a time..
- Think about what you will talk about beforehand. Are their family landmines that you need to steer away from. Family drama is no longer a concern of theirs and shouldn’t be at this point. Keep the visits happy and upbeat.
- For that time slip into their world. Let them live the day of happy memories without the real world disturbing you.
This year is nothing like years past, but what we have is here, and now and wasting what do have by thinking about what was is just futile. Making the most of what is by staying safe and keeping our loved ones healthy is what we have to do. Let’s make the best of it for them at least.