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Dementia, Families

Here We Go Again

Senior woman in medical mask with social worker visiting her at home

As we come out of this Thanksgiving holiday, significantly modified for so many, and head to our December holiday celebrations, we continue to face an increased surge of COVID-19 cases throughout the country. For our loved ones with dementia, particularly those in congregate residential settings, this often means further isolation and separation from loved ones.

At the same time, caregivers of persons with dementia may well be feeling they are at the “breaking point” given this new resurgence of cases after a summer and early fall of declining numbers of new cases reported. Care communities are rethinking their policies on allowing outside visits, and many are moving back to a policy of essential visitors only, effectively shutting out family members for any kind of visits. A heightened awareness also exists for loved ones living at home seeking additional protection for them as well. Overall, the feeling of “here we go again” seems to prevail.

Optimistically speaking, the impending release of a vaccine before 2021 certainly brings hope to many that perhaps we are seeing the beginning of the end of this long physical and psychological struggle. The question now appears to be when will both our loved ones over 65, especially those with chronic conditions such as dementia, and the health care workers who take care of them, receive the vaccine. In the weeks to come, difficult decisions will need to be made by our governmental officials as to whom receives the vaccine first. This uncertainty and lack of a coordinated plan for vaccine rollout only adds to the stress of these two populations as well as the loved ones involved, all of whom have virtually no control over this process.

So where does that leave us? Frustrated? Lacking in Control? Overwhelmed? The answers of course are yes, yes, and yes. While solutions to these bigger issues will likely not be finalized for some time, these feelings will undoubtedly continue to linger. With this in mind, I and Open Arms, want to offer some positive outreach, for those of you who have family members under our care, by offering you an opportunity to express, in a one on one session, those feelings.

Throughout December, I will be hosting 30 minute time periods throughout my week for you to establish a phone call or ZOOM call time to chat about the issues that you and your loved ones are personally facing. If you are interested in this opportunity, please call 847-942-1128 to schedule a conversation. This opportunity is meant to be a token of appreciation for entrusting Open Arms with the care of your loved one and a small way for us to provide outlets for these feelings that all of us are facing in these unpredictable times.

I close by wishing you and yours the best holiday wishes. Cheers for a much less memorable 2021.

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