The elderly with dementia are hard for loved ones to reach under the best circumstances. But with today’s enforced distance, they’re even more unreachable. Susan Dix Lyons has this Perspective.
They put me on hold only to come back nine minutes later to tell me no one answered. Nine minutes of listening to a recorded message about the “safe and enriching experience” offered on the other side of the line.
I am waiting to speak to my dad, who has dementia. Like 1 1/2 million other older adults, he lives in a nursing home – a memory care center on the other side of the country. The coronavirus pandemic means he is no longer allowed visitors from the outside menacing world.
Isolated behind this new wall, no one from his family can touch him, hold his crooked hand. Now, in addition to being locked inside of his mind, he is locked away physically from the people who love him most. This is for his protection. This is good.