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Social Distancing and its Effect on the Elderly


I’ve been giving much thought to what social distancing is doing to our loved ones who are now in lockdown in facilities. The lockdown is absolutely necessary to save lives but what is it doing to their mental and emotional wellbeing?


I read in the Chicago Tribune this morning (Sunday, March 22nd) an article written by Heidi Steven. The article is called “Human interactions have been phasing out for years.” Heidi says “We can purchase groceries and birthday gifts and clothing and novels with our phones and we can have them delivered by a mysterious human while we’re not even home to say thank you.” “We forgo movie theaters in favor of Netflix and high school reunions in favor of Facebook.”


Toward the end of the article Heidi talked about speaking with Adriana Torres, manager of volunteer services of Fox Valley Hands of Hope. They are a nonprofit that provide volunteers who go into nursing homes and hospice care facilities to sit with residents and patients, to read to them, to sing to them. The volunteers are distraught now that they cannot see patients and they are very concerned for them. A familiar voice and familiar touch mean so much, even to someone with dementia.


I’ve seen ideas in the newspaper and on TV how family members are trying to “keep in touch” with their loved ones. Skype, emails, sending a card, sending chocolate, are some of

the ideas. My mom has been in lockdown in her assisted living facility for over a week and a half. My mom is very social. My siblings and I have had all the grandkids calling her (she likes them better than us!), so that has helped. I decided to start a card campaign. I went down my email list and emailed a bunch of people and asked them to send her a note and card. I asked them not to go to the store to buy a card, of course, but even a note on a piece of paper would help.


Have you thought of other ways to keep in tough with your loved one? If you have please email me at pmarks@enfermera.care.




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