Safe Visits During Covid & Beyond
00:00:01 – 00:05:10
Visits with our loved ones have been enormous challenge in the past year or more. This episode was supposed to come out in late january or early february but life had other ideas. Even though visits are happening more thanks to the vaccines keeping our loved. One safe is still a high priority. Under the circumstances. I decided to publish this episode. As a bonus in brief my guest. Maria and i discussed all types of visits ultimately by talking about visits with my mom and grandmother who just turned two hundred and three. This week i feel. We covered many options. The community in which my mom lived had coped with a severe flu outbreak. A year before the pandemic this knowledge allowed them to know some of the mitigation factors necessary to prevent the spread of any contagious disease. Living in a board and care home is altogether different. As you’ll hear there are other challenges with visits with my grandmother. You’re sure to gain new ideas for visits. And i know you’ll enjoy this fun conversation. This episode is brought to you by caregiver. Chronicles an eight week online course covering everything from diagnosis through hospice for more information. Use the link in the show notes. Welcome to fading memories. A podcast with advice wisdom and hope from caregivers who have lived the experience and survived to tell the tale. Think of us as your best friend with me. Today is maria lindberg and she. And i are going to discuss safe. Visits with our loved ones during covid and so thanks for joining me maria. Thank you so much for having me for people like my listeners. They’ve been visiting loved ones through the window. Not being able to go in and so we need to discuss how we’re gonna move forward because obviously this is not something that’s just going to be over and done with as we’d really like so you had ideas on how we can visit with our loved ones during this time. And maybe you know. As i talked with last week when we were getting to know each other. My mom’s memory care assisted. Living community had a huge flu outbreak in the winter of eighteen nineteen and it was kind of a similar thing although not they didn’t bar us from entry. You work in a hospital correct. Yes yeah. I do work in a hospital. I’m an occupational therapist. And for those who don’t know we are. We help you get back to doing daily activities that occupy your time like going to the bathroom or getting dressed or just doing anything you need and want to do so working in the hospital. We have a lot of restrictions for sure. I just wanted to talk about some things before you visit of facility before you go in. It’s the check the centers for disease control and prevention because sometimes they update their or they have been updating guidelines since the pandemic has started where they talk about. What some of the symptoms are for covid. So before you visit your family member whether they’re in a hospital or a care facility or even before you visit somebody else in their home in the community you went to look out for some of those. Make sure you don’t have any symptoms that you you don’t wanna share with anyone and just i won’t go over the whole list because sadly there’s a lot some of the some of the symptoms may look like headache. Muscle aches chills. Cough shortness of breath is a big wind fatigue. Runny nose those kinds of things. So you wanna make sure you don’t have any symptoms that you’re feeling very good very healthy. You wanna make sure you don’t have a temperature of one hundred point four degrees or or above because that means that you are infectious and before you go to the facility. It’s also good to check if there’s a website that the hospital or the care facility has maybe gone there to look and see what the requirements are or you can give give them a call and see what you need to do. If there’s like a certain entrance you need to go to with visiting hours. Are if just any questions you might have regarding that. That’s a really good idea. My mom’s community the memory care you could go twenty four seven prior to this and then i think it was march seventeenth twenty twenty that they basically said nope nobody can come in. And then let’s see. They asked me to calm the date while day and a half before she passed away and having gone there for three years i just went to the to the normal memory care entrance and they literally had two saw horses and some cautions that i just walked around him.
00:05:11 – 00:10:08
There are certain rules. I follow but i figured the barricade was not for me but when i popped in and they were like oh no you must go through the door and i’m like oh my god am i. My whole family has had low body temperatures. Every time i go and place where they they scan your your temperature like no ninety seven point. Six must be funny. I’ve been having ninety seven point three a lot. And i’m like it’s been working right. Yeah there was one day. I was feeling warm. I am at the age where it’s like. Oh okay i always wear a little here. And it was actually normal body temperature for the average person and i was like Degree warm for me. But i’m sort of having a little kind of personal heat wave here a before. I think i’m fine. But so what should we do after we. We’ve we’ve made sure that we feel fine. We know them. Rules are following the rules. We’re not just going around barricades. Like hey i would have done the same in in my grandfather’s facility. I would have just you guys know me never called me and told me to comes on. Fortunately for them. It’s a door. The outside door goes into a little tiny lobby. And then there’s another door that goes into the actual community so they. They stopped me before. I got to farmers door. They got They were very kind and they’re like the care staff would have minded but they were like. Let’s let’s follow some rules here. We don’t know what’s going on. That was right at the beginning of the pandemic and and they did a good job because they have not had any problems we were there in mid may and they had not had anybody with a breakout. Nobody had died so it was like. Hey guys did a pretty good job. It’s been two whole months and nothing bad happened. And then i was. Yeah it was back the day before halloween and they hadn’t had any issues and the one gal is talking to you is pregnant. I figured felt pretty confident that it was a safe place for pregnant mom to be so you know because i was i was like last time you were here and then you went on maternity leave and then you didn’t come back and my mom died. Now you’re backing. Wait a minute to to have the baby. Yeah wow this is like all. I wanted them close together but it wasn’t planning on that closing like what happened. Okay so now. we’re visiting. What should we be doing so while while you are visiting. You’re more than likely going to have to wear a mask the entire time and that’s just because with covid it spread so easy it could spread just with your breathing with. You’re talking so it’s good to keep that mask on. Try to avoid touching your face whatsoever. That can be really really hard to do. I know sometimes depending on my class masks at home. Whenever i’m talking or i’m kind of more of an animated per the mask tends to slide so i do need to fix it. I wash my hands. I or put alcohol on my hands. Make sure they’re totally dry. And then i touch my face to readjust mask make sure it’s covering my nose and my mouth so those are kind of two big things but the third is still continued to try and social distance tuesday cannon the facility so if you are able to be in the same room and close with your left one That’s that’s good. You know whatever however close you feel comfortable with being with your left one. But i would try to stay at least six feet apart from anybody else in the facility whether it’s staff or other people of course we can only do the best that we can do. Sometimes you’re in tighter spaces or sometimes staff needs to come in to take care or you know if you’re left one has any needs but yeah i would try to just stay apart as much as you can and speaking of like going going into facility. So i know. I think it’s so important As an occupational therapist we are humans we define ourselves by what we do and we are social beings we we need to be visiting with other people so if you have somebody who is in a facility and you are able to be with them.
00:10:09 – 00:15:02
You’re you’re able to be in the same room it’s greats huge trying to think about maybe bringing some activities in to make the time more enjoyable for each other so i i think about when my grandfather was living now granted he he lived in a long term care in a memory care also he had dementia and at the time there was no he passed in january two thousand eighteen so no pandemic luckily for us when he was at the facility. There were no flu outbreaks. So we were able to just go win but we i because i have. I’ve also worked in a skilled nursing facilities rehab and other places like that. I know how easily germs can pass from one person to the other so we for my grandfather. I thought about things that he likes to do. And i would try to bring in things that were either that could be easily cleaned and things like if i needed to bring them in and take them out or things that were single use so for my grandfather. He loved salsa music. So i bring in my phone. I could play music for my phone. We also had a cd player that we could bring into to play different cd’s that he would like so an also for holidays or special occasions like his birthday. We the facility didn’t make enchiladas so we could bring those kinds of things and bring it in something single use like styrofoam or whatever if if you live in a place that has single used containers that you can recycle that. That’s a really good idea to kind of make it make the visit more enjoyable and make it more personalized see. You’re you’re not just kind of sitting staring at each other. I’m on my talk. Unfortunately yes her. Conversations didn’t make sense and ask the same thing over and over until you wanna bang your head on the wall and wasn’t her. Visual processing was so bad that there wasn’t a lot that you could actually engage with her with like she wouldn’t do any of the art project sometimes she’d play the bingo that they had but it was wasn’t her thing to begin with. It was a challenge. And i don’t know that they’re dealing any of those kind of activities right now because when i was there the day before halloween and for those people who aren’t following me on social media which you should be i was there. I delivered handmade halloween cards and a little treat box that i also made with one piece of candy in it. Just because that is what i do to keep from going bonkers. If i’m not working right. My stress released by a pandemic entertainment. For what you know. Whatever you wanna call it. And i only have so many friends so i figured i’ll just make for the residents and they have the square dining tables have basically plexiglass ex lexi glass exes so each section is divided off which i personally think is little overkill because it’s not like the residents are going you know out into the community. Although my mom would have been maybe. I don’t know my mom and i always went out to the park and the pool and the will always like to watch kids because you know she’s a mom and grandma or was and that’s what she liked to do with. It made her happy. And i didn’t have to like try to have conversations with her. No i don’t know what we would have been doing. I’ve made the comment that i’m blessed that she was like a broke my leg. I’m i’m not gonna be able to walk anymore because they didn’t repair it and she was not willing to do the physical therapy. No which. I was fine. I can transfer her in and out of wheelchair. That’s great. I can handle this. I can move from ploy data point be and it won’t take forever. This’ll be really nice. I was like i had. I had a silver lining. Like you know it’s not the end of the world. It’s you know it’ll be different. But i was like my going to have to get one of those things for the wheelchair on the back of my car and i don’t think so they’ve old up of i was like really getting ready for it. The fee where she lived was going up tremendously because she needed a whole lot more care and it was already time to reassess and i swear she had a moment of lucidity. She was like yeah. Nope can’t get out of bed is costing more money up. I’m out pandemic right.
00:15:03 – 00:20:02
Sometimes i think you know like it because that’s the kind of personality she had before the alzheimer’s so like you know this situation is terrible. I’m just nope. I’m out and i’ve made that comment because obviously for a long time. The parks are closed again. Which is the dumbest thing. But whatever you know. I’m not trying to keep a state with. I don’t know how many thirty million people i don’t know how many people rapport atmosphere the misery. I mean i. I’ve had a lot of guests that are from the uk and i just harassed them that california’s bigger than their whole country. So like we have more people than most places so it does. Add to some of the challenges. When we were talking last week we were discussing. Maybe throwing out ideas for the communities that may be have had some issues and they still don’t. There’s a lot of families that have not seen their loved ones for nine months which i personally think is just horrible. I mean it’s yeah. We need to keep them safe from this disease. That’s very easily transmitted. But the isolation and the lack of activities i mean. That’s to me. Is i think as bad. I mean that well i mean covert is gonna kill it could kill you but isolation is definitely horrible for you. So it’s it’s equivalent to physical pain. It is just just that mental anguish that you have with not visiting. Just keep wool. And i mean i know as a staff like for me in the hospital right now. We do have to limit our time going in and out of the room like you have to think about. Do i have everything i need to go in. And take care of this percents and then come out. And oh by the way. I have x. Amount of other people to see so not only. Are these people you know. Residents not seeing you for long periods of time. They’re also not seeing you frequently. So yeah that can actually like caused like like a physical pain and that that can be challenging so i i have them ideas for your listeners. So if you are not able to visit your left one whether it’s because the facility is saying no right now we. We don’t want to expose residents or your left. One has code in there in isolation. Some things that you can do. A lot of facilities are doing window visits. Which can be nice. I’ve also seen online other facilities where they have constructed like a a plexiglas kind of structure for families to come up. I know it’s incredible but for families to come up on the outside easily and where they’re doing can be transported so they could see their loved one through the window and there are a lot of fun things you can do with dry erase markers. I actually had one of my patients along time ago. She had dementia and she was an artist. Who worked for a wickford hallmark here. Yeah and so for us. It was wonderful because she was still very much able. She’s still very much talented and so she would draw these little bears or little. I mean just whatever pops into our mind. It’s so interesting what happens. You know or what. We’re still interested in or what we can still do. And so you can use dry erase markers to be very creative. That way drawing pictures playing gains like Show just you could write messages to your loved one and you could also bring a white ford to with you. If maybe the facility for some reason they say oh. Please don’t drawn or windows. I could understand why. I’m sure there’s some buildings out there who would not like that idea but using bringing a white board can be used for that also whiteboards posterboards. I’ve seen a lot of families online. Bring poster boards with messages or they’ll bring poster boards with pictures family. So it when you were talking about your mom and the visual processing. But she liked to see kids. It’s if you know the grandkids for some reason can’t come to the facility visit outside. It is so good to bring pictures with you being able. If you have a tablet if you can hold it to the window holding playing videos of grandchildren or children’s that can be really really nice options to for people. Yeah i’m gonna try any of those with my mom because switch what what input went into her is her brain scrambled it up pretty good. I’m surprised that she didn’t have issues. Walking that’s how bad her visual processing was her visit processing was so bad. It was february of this year.
00:20:02 – 00:25:02
She was talking and she pointed at a tree that was about one hundred hundred and fifty feet away and she talked about some woman and then there was a bunch of words that together made no sense. And i was trying to figure out what she was talking about and i have like really bizarre vision so it. It’s made it easier for me to understand what her visual processing is like like. I don’t have depth perception. So it’s a lot of people with alzheimer’s like my mom would shadows on the ground. Would link cracks or i mean she was hysterical. Watcher try to avoid her own shadow. Oh my goodness yeah. I and it was hard not to laugh at her. ’cause it’s like right on you know unless you figure out how to detach the shadow from your buddy. It’s not you’re not going to avoid owns pointing at this tree. And she made this comment in about ten minutes later. I was like. I think that was actually a hallucination so i’m not sure i’m not sure if it actually was or if she’d had some of them in the past because she would point at something in the distance and and put together words like i said they were always very audible understandable actual words but they were it was like random so they didn’t. It sounded like a sentence and it was actual english words but it never there was nothing. There was like no glue to hold together. Words scramble was very confusing and she got very upset. If you like scrunched up your face trying to figure out what she was talking about would it would upset her so you have to like. Let the word scrambled go past due. And then just say something. That hopefully made sense so. I’m not sure if she’d had actual more hallucinations or if this was just closer to the end of her life but yeah you could point out something like keep photos my dogs or videos on my dogs on my phone and i have eleven. So it’s not tiny she just it. It was like she could not connect what you were trying to tell her. And so i was really glad that i didn’t have to window visits especially because Hospital but her back was to window so spending like this huge challenge and like i said she liked to sit around and talk so my grandmother. Who’s almost one hundred. Three’s in a board and care home and they let you come in. But i get a little bit nervous because i don’t know who all has who else has come in for like the other residents and my grandmother is very hard of hearing. You have to take off your mask and you have to sit like right on top of her like if you can sit slightly behind her and rest your chin on her solar then you can almost talking to normal volume voice. Nothing white. But you don’t have to yell so i haven’t been for a month because partly november was insane and partly it’s like i’m not really super comfortable going but We were discussing offline maybe some ideas and rules we can put in place for when you know like god forbid sexually continues much better for those places that have had issues that still aren’t allowing family members in because i’m talking to guests who are thinking about having family members you know it’s like i can’t deal with my family member anymore but i don’t want to send them to a memory care because ovid and i would like to be to see them or my grandmother has been in this place. I haven’t seen her for a year. So i wanna take her out because obviously none of us live forever and it would be really nice to see our family members before they go and a few months ago. There was a gallon instagram. And i searched around for her account she’d been oregon and she and actually posted ideas that she had four se allow family members in it. Was you had to make an appointment so you couldn’t just drop in which does sort of present its own problems. If they know for sure coming they can be perfect around. You limit visits to you. Know half an hour so that there’s plenty of time for other family. I’m trying to remember. Obviously safety protocols masks disinfectant handwashing. And i can’t remember if there was social distancing in her post or not i was i had scroll through. I’m like oh my gosh. Those a really good ideas in her post basically addressed the governor of oregon and then like the next day. I’m like i need to find that out. I could not find it any. Yeah hopefully can find it. Yeah maybe says she can. Because i i appreciate that state governments many of them not all of them apparently like i said california though game. We’ve kinda gone like the extreme of okay.
00:25:02 – 00:30:10
Guess what it’s getting really bad again. So stay home even though nobody’s doing that and you know because we’re trying to protect everybody but we’re trying not to kill the communists like i’m so glad i’m not in government. I’m not government or county government or steak government. Because i just there wasn’t there would not be enough tylenol in the world for those. Yeah it would be really rest. Yeah no thinks it’s like like. I don’t know why the next administration even wants this job. I think they should decide. Said thanks there. James my mind and i think if we know as family members of people in communities and as an employee of a hospital or you know if you’ve done i would assume you you said he did it in long term care. I think if we decide what we think is acceptable risks and talk about ways. We can visit safely like during a really bad flu outbreak. Like i said it was in the assisted living community and it was so bad that they closed the system living’s dining room and we’re delivering meals to. I don’t know three hundred apartments. I don’t remember how many there was a lot was two stories so there’s probably at least two hundred. Let’s a lot of extra work. So and they had seen signs on the doors. Big red you know red paper with you know bad flu outbreak. You might wanna come in here. But they do tell us we couldn’t they just basically said you know. Enter at your own risk so right and the memory care didn’t have a huge flowery. I didn’t know anybody that got anything other than just like i don’t remember any of them actually ever getting sick. They did a really good job taking care of and they start taking care of the residents. But i was always of the opinion and this came from my mom’s dad my maternal grandfather. He always said. Well we don’t get out of his life alive and because you can you can prepare like you could save your money for retirement. And then diet fifty. I’m fifty four so that would really stink. So i i kind of feel like even for the people that are at home. We need to balance safety with this nurse and trying to maintain some semblance of normal which i realize is one of the reasons why this pandemic is last forever. A lot of people are focusing on the life as normal part of the statement yes of what decides the time you know appointment. Type visits. obviously safety protocols with mouth and hand washing and disinfectant. What other things do you think memory care communities and maybe assisted living communities like do you think it would be too much of a risk for other residents of i take my mom out in the car and we’d gone through the drive through or parked in the parking lot at the park to watch the nonexistent children playing them now. I think you know. I think it’s good to to depending on where you live. Obviously california’s so much more population dense in kansas city. But i think that i know the. Cdc has put also places that are more low risk to go and like activities that are more low risk and things that are higher risk says something that is high risk is going out to eat in the restaurant. That’s a very high risk. This cd said people who eat in restaurants are twice as likely to get covid. So i mean that stinks. I love eating out. So much i miss. It haven’t eaten out since february. We’ve been doing side though but so but other things that are lower risks are going to park. So i’m really sad to hear that california has shutdown parks because that is definitely a lower risk place to go. So i’m i’m hoping that what facilities are doing well obviously in the hospital. If you’re able to go then you don’t need to be in the hospital but if you live in assisted living independent living facility like that. I would hope that facility would be able to find a good marriage of finding things that their residents can do and i think it it would be a huge communication piece with them with talking to family members. Like like when your if your mother was with us then. I i would say like you guys going to car going for a drive. Sounds wonderful and it’s a nice change of pace going through a drive through and getting a milkshake or you know whatever they you know picking up curbside and going to the park and having a picnic.
00:30:10 – 00:35:13
That’s all great now. I know Here where i live. Libraries are closed. Right now we only can do like if they have a drive through or you pick up library at the curb so that that kind of stinks as far as that kind of thing but if you were to go out for a walk with your loved one the neighborhood i know live this. Well i worked at a lot of different facilities by. They typically have like some kind of courtyard or they do have like sidewalk access for you can. Actually the last place. I worked was right next to a grocery store so actually i would walk with the residents to the grocery store to do some shopping there too so yeah hopeful that facilities. Can you know talk with family. Members tried to get that engagement. I know at the hospital. And i’m sure a lot of other facilities do this. They provide a tablet so that they can help residents make calls like over facetime or whatever video chat so that they can talk. And i know for me personally. That has been nice. I i’ve never been. I’m i’m not an apple user. I’m droid my husband’s an app eliezer. He keeps trying to get me to go jumped ship. But i’m like. I don’t know using adroit only ever just doing as you were born. Nineteen eighty two. I was in high school early eighties when they said computers will give us a four day workweek in a paperless office that i don’t see that been like thirty. What are we like thirty five. I graduated in eighty four. So i cannot do math. I think we’re at like thirty five years this coming year thirty six. I’m thirty five. Okay for eighty-five okay. There you go okay. So the left. Yeah we had. We started with apple two e.’s. Nam really and you own it own. It yes this is my journey. Yeah we’ll just quickey side note back in the old days. When you’re ma- your mac. The power cable was welded to the back of the computer. Only dog that just recently passed away when he was a puppy it only takes like two nibbles and the cable was pooped out because it got puppy chomped so i take the computer to the apple store photographer. Now podcast or this is. This is before. Podcasts came out i think not quite there. Were still really new. And they’re like. Oh no we don’t do loaners and i’m like can you. Just pull up my account please. And they pulled their accounting. Oh we’ll just by the computer and then when you when yours is fix just returned it. We won’t charge you the restocking like he’s give me a break. Naive win. raffle was on the verge of not being a company anymore. Like oh my god. What am i going to do on rocks. We all want apple stock and we didn’t because they’re like if you can’t afford to lose it can’t afford to buy it and i’m so mad that we followed. Yes the you would have said very rich right. Retirement account would have been a lot better than it is now anyway so yeah make the switch. You’ll be happy. My my mom’s community has has a beautiful courtyard in the memory. Care and i personally think during the i don’t know when they started letting family members back in but obviously in may they let me in. I think it would have been just fine to escort the family members outside and then bring their loved ones outside because it was big enough. You could put. I’m thinking there was three seating areas so you can do easily like nine people. Maybe twelve because one of them was kind of big. I’m trying to lake visualize how far apart you could be not be in the sunshine and then that you know not that most elderly people wanna go sit on the grass but that would have been an option. Kids could run around. can pack yard full bodies. If you weren’t assisted living also had a very large courtyard that was on the east side of the building so it was shady in the afternoons. That was very pleasant even super hot days. It was really pleasant trying to think if they had an well then there was some spaces out front like there was two benches out front of the memory care and four outside the main entrance to the community so there were a lot of outdoor areas.
00:35:14 – 00:40:12
The benches outside the main entrance probably wouldn’t have been as as safe but they would have been an option. I mean if the people going in walked down the middle of the path and the benches around the edges. I mean your risk would have been a slightly higher than other outdoor areas that you know it’s like i think i’ve taken keep track of how many people are out there that that kind of situation works work. Great being outside is the safest place that you can be and immune especially. If you’re i mean i think it’s still be good. You know to be masked up outside but yeah being outside with the the the greatest place. Hopefully they could invest in more overhangs for some And and in have just more activities outside that way. Yeah and i know the community is there was. I think it was twenty nineteen. I always went on mondays to visit. Mom and i show up on monday and she was gone like where did she go. My sister always went on the weekends because she worked in an office so she didn’t obviously go monday. Afternoon was not really a convenient time for those people who aren’t self employed and like oh. She’s on the bus. I’m like she’s on the bus. I would put the residence on one of the small commuter type buses. And i don’t know where the heck they drove him. They drove him around town or something and normally they did that on wednesdays whatever reason. They shifted it to that monday. I was shocked that she went because she was always resistant to anything. Different was like you know your daughter’s once you might have experienced this where you know. It’s it’s time to move from one activity to another or you know. Think put on our pajamas and get ready for bed. And that’s shift is just like too much like no. She’s falling asleep on the floor like no. I don’t want to teach and so that’s kind of how my mom was. It was like. I’m happy sitting here saying the same five things to this poor other residents that sitting there was other. I haven’t told the story for a while. So i can repeat it. My my mom had her dog with her. The first eighteen months she lived in the memory care and seeing the dog would trigger this one particular memory. That always started with well. I’ve had dogs. All my life is heard that i can almost sense when it was coming. Yeah i would try to distract. ’cause i’m like i have heard the story fifteen thousand times. They do not want my mom’s been gone almost a year still voting again now. There’s things i would like to do with my mom like go to the park and watch kids. I don’t want to hear the story again. That’s how much she had another friend in the memory care that heard that story so many times she could start repeating it for the first time. Wow re together. My mom launches into that story and the other resident was also named diane. So other diane goes. You’ve told me that story. Eight hundred and three times. Where i hurt myself was trying. Not eight hundred and three. That’s a random number and then like a couple months later were out in this beautiful courtyard and the dog is running around and my mom wanted the. I’ve had dogs all my life and her friend starts repeating the same story and i’m like. Oh oh my gosh this story so many times that you’ve pro. I mean like her good like elder abuse. You’re killing was like and i was shocked. I’m like kay. This woman can’t remember who i am but she remembers the story that okay incredible it was it was i. I think brains are so fascinating. If i had any science aptitude enos half my age. I might go into research but a muscle. Good with us stuff’s never say never totally this year. Never know there. You go you totally k. career change. Go ahead oh. i’m so sorry. Well it’s so funny because a lot of the things you’re talking about your mom remind me and my grandfather to towards the end of his life. Like the hallucinations. The stories especially he had a traumatic brain injury when he was eighty six and after that it just unlocked it. He was no longer inhibited. He was talking about what happened world war tier which he never talked about so unfortunately not some great stories but he as like the brain injury and his dementia progressed.
00:40:12 – 00:45:00
There were certain stories where we could not. We felt the same way my family were just like. Oh my gosh. How can i politely. Listen to this for the thousand times. I mean just grandpa. I love you but oh my goodness this is so much what she would talk about the dog. So then i started. I learned to start asking her questions. Like you have what were their names. What were their names and so we actually have this on video. We’re at the dog park with my my three at the time and so she said well. I started with the name misty. That was the dogs she had with her and that was such a good name. We just kept using it. And i’m like ooh backwards. Let’s see when i was a kid. We had tinker. And trina. And then when i was in middle school we got daphne and then we had holly and then misty and i remember some of the names from the dogs from what i was like before. I was born like early early early childhood so i knew they weren’t all day misty. I did learn to redirect that story. ’cause it was it’s when she was pregnant with me. My almost hundred three year old grandmother told her well. Now that you’re having a baby you’ll be getting rid of the dogs. Apparently that upset my mom so bad that she remembered that forever in story in front of my grandmother so i had to learn how to distract from the story. I think there was only once when my grandmother heard the story. And you know. My grandma wasn’t isn’t a dog person. We did help her a little bit with that. But you know it’s like it’s crazy. Well you do in a board and care home. That doesn’t have too many rules other than you must wear a mask. You think it’s safe to go visit one hundred three ish almost now. If if i was feeling good. I you know that we’re talking about if if i was to go into a board and care home and i was feeling good and wearing a mask i wouldn’t make it just like you know the person you were falling on instagram. And they’re talking about thirty minutes visits. I would keep it no longer than thirty minutes. Because i haven’t forbid you know somebody. There has kobe but the longer you stay in that room the more likely you are to breathe in kobe. So i i would make it short and sweet and then i would probably do a lot of those video chats that those facetime calls. I’d probably try to ramp those up just to make sure that you’re not bringing in anything to grandma and grandpa’s giving anything to you. Because sadly i just this. Kobe thing is so interesting. How we still don’t know yet why it affects certain people the way it does. And why the. I mean there are certainly having cases where there’s like centurions who get kobe and they’re fine and they heal from it we there’s just kind of i mean. Of course you know they. There’s talks like if you if you have any pre existing conditions like diabetes or any lung issues than. You’re more likely to have ill effects from it but yeah it’s you still want to protect yourself and you still want to protect the residents that you go see. I’m hoping in a board and care home that it sounds like they would be more lenient. You’re talking about possibly taking out family members out in you know outsider. I i would hope that you can have that conversation with whoever is running the place and say you know. This is exactly what i wanted to. Here’s the plan here are all. We’re going to have her hand sanitizer. We’re going to be wearing masks you know. Is this something that we can do getting getting that permission making a plan and and then seeing from there if if they’re willing to compromise with you on that my biggest challenge with her is she doesn’t like to wear the mask which i get. None of us really do. She is mostly blind so facetime calls her out. She’s also profoundly. Hard of hearing so phone calls are out half the time. When i’m there she doesn’t know who i am because i guess yell loud enough i always go up to her and say you know. Hi nanna it’s jaffer really loud and they have a beautiful deck in it’s covered and it’s i believe it’s on the east side of the house as well. So it’s it’s i mean.
00:45:00 – 00:50:17
Even in the extreme heat of the summer it wasn’t too bad. I did learn put little fans like the southern belle. My purse was a couple of times. We eat out at a restaurant where mike this would be okay but it’s a little bit warm. You know you know they’ve got extra barricades that were keeping the heat in and there’s not a place to sit in her room if you’re not sitting on her bed and then she can’t hear you so it’s like there’s all these extra challenges and it’s like right. I wouldn’t mind other than she’s extremely frail putting her in the car and driving around but she can’t see. I don’t know what right it’s so and you know i mean well. I mean a couple of things that i think of. I know for people who are hard of hearing if you are able to speak in the lowest ball or tone that you have so when i speak to people who are hard of hearing my voice is very high pitched so i tried to speak lower so that they can hear me better. Speaking slowly trying to. Enunciate so just slowing. The pace. talking lower can can be helpful. I know i know it’s difficult when they have low vision they can’t see so you can’t use the whiteboard can’t really write anything down but never disregard your how therapeutic in how comic it can be just to be presence and just if if your grandmother does like you know hand holding or maybe even like. Hey grandma’s gonna put rub some lotion on your hands or bringing in if there’s any certain sense that she likes. I know i love lavender. You could bring that kind of make it more relaxing. Even though i’m so sorry she doesn’t always remember who you are that i i know that could be like. Aw grandfather was about ready to her. Mind is pretty pretty good. I mean be mobile minded mostly hard of hearing makes basically means that you are in solitary confinement in your own brain which rowan put me over the edge if i had to live that way and she sings hymns and things to herself. And that’s you know how she keeps keeps herself go. I mean she’s content but her mind is not perfect but it’s she doesn’t have alzheimer’s or dementia. I think she just gets confused because you know she can’t see she can’t get. Although we were the last time i saw her. I had to take her out to get her hair done and as we were going back. She’s leaning on the walker. And i was wearing red capris and she could. She’s like oh. I like your red pants and she like literally three minutes earlier told me that she couldn’t really see anymore so i’m always pass. Must be really red in the sun because she can see it was just. It was one of those moments as she. She can see some things. But i don’t know i’m wondering if see i’m the only grandchild that goes and visits because my other cousins were in idaho and i don’t know what’s up with my sister so other than just. It’s it’s challenging. She can be really demanding. And it’s like honey. I just got out of that relationship with my mom and there are days when you know i. I’m grasping at the last copa technique. And you’re kicking it out from underneath me just if my schedule was less if it was more predictable while it is predictable. But it’s complicated. I would i would just say you know what i’m gonna come back in two days. When and maybe he’ll he’ll be feeling a little bit more up for visit. Just oh my gosh. It’s so complicated. And we don’t have a lot to talk about because she doesn’t understand what a podcast is. You know she doesn’t really give a rip that my quote don’t tell anybody. Favourite dog passed away. I mean i have thirty three so but this was literally my shadow me like walking around the office chair. It was insane. No you know it’s like and then she’ll say things like well. I really miss my chuck. She’s talking about my dad mike. like acknowledged that we both lost somebody very important not just you realize losing a child is probably very difficult but you know it was still my dad and i still had to deal with you and i lost a dog while he was on hospice. Damn dogs newton so if they do like well the the last one was thirteen so he did pretty good but it was like you know she’ll ask whatever you know. What do you do to stay busy. And it’s like get him an. I can’t explain it to you. I can’t really show you get sick like well. I is and it’s like It’s really makes visiting challenging. I’m just grateful that she has her mind. Because i’m trying to tell me families stories. And i have a pal mike plugs into your phone so i just clip it to her shirt and then i don’t have to worry about like literally having my phone jabbed interface when you don’t have to see know that somebody’s got something shoved up next year face if i’m shouting.
00:50:17 – 00:55:09
So she can hear me the mic picks me up just fine and picks her up actually works out really well but a guy. I’m having difficulty. Sometimes i asked her when i was there before. Halloween for halloween. When my dad was little because my dad graduated from high school in fifty nine like someone did. They lived on a farm. So it’s not like a neighborhood like you know. We live in right now where they could trigger treats trying to get these stories out of her and it’s difficult that’s the kind of thing she would have loved. I don’t know why it’s a problem now. But maybe maybe just not not used to being asked questions like And and going going back in. I was also you know you’re bringing up family stories. It made me think about armchair travel or just you know being in place but also talking about or asking her about places. She’s been vacations. Asking her to describe those places. If provision was better. You could use google maps in actually plug in the address and then she’d be able to see and maybe even recognize them places like what you know whatever hometown she’s from or you could if you happen to have that farm address with eight if any changes oh wonderful. I’m not sure how all the houses it’s definitely super old. Maybe i can get her to pull out some of those memories. maybe there. i’m going to have to look through some of the family photos. Maybe if i can find some old photos from my dad’s side of the family that might trigger some of those memories. And i say oh i found this photo and this is what it looks like. Maybe that’ll help the maybe describing it to her. Yeah maybe that her. Especially if it’s something like i know in in my family we have pictures of certain birthday parties in. There’s like it’s outside and there’s loudest work or you know something that hopefully would help trigger trigger something in her. I know there’s pictures of her with my dad when he was probably your daughter’s age you know pre not baby baby but not toddler. Toddler like tiny gap when they’re like not quite there. They’re that cute stage actually and she’s with another group of women. Maybe if i describe them she might remember like who are these. Just a random. Their relatives their neighbors. There are people from the church. Who the hell are these people. You don’t have to tell me well. There’s five women and and you’re the second one from the left then. There’s no that sounds not like that. Just like dad looks like he’s like eighteen months old so that would’ve been like december of forty or four. Yeah forty three. And there’s seven pick women in the picture and they’ve all got kids about the same age and this what the house of the background looks like. I’m gonna try that. Hopefully she’s game. So i hope so. I i look forward to hearing an update and saying you know if if that worked for you. Now it’d be cool but if you’re able i mean i just think about like this five senses. How can i connect with my family member. If i they can’t see so all here so also maybe trying to do touch or taste or smell or you know different different kinds of things like that. Can you know you’re showing that you care in those ways. It is so hard. Have you seen those masks with the with the plastic opening. See you could see mouse. Do you think that would work or no. Because you can’t as well she can’t see the mask. Muffles your voice. Because i find when people are wearing a mask i have to listen extra hard and if i was hard of hearing it’d be like well so only so when i’m with her and like we would go sit on this. She loved to sit on the deck. So i would just take my mask off and if the staff came around i would. I’d have it handy starting this throat back on but i i don’t worry that’s not quite the right word. I take into consideration that. If i’m there. And i take off my mask. There’s probably other people that go visit their loved ones. You know. I don’t know how my mom would have dealt with a mask like if i was wearing a mask. Michelle ready. thought. I was her best friend. So lord only knows who she would’ve weirdo coming in. You know it’s just was. It would be so unusual although the staff’s wearing masks. I don’t know like i’m really happy that i didn’t have to deal with all this uncertainty with my mom because she was already late stage alzheimer’s and that was enough.
00:55:09 – 01:00:00
Challenge adding lewis kovin protection on top of. It would’ve just been like. Oh my gosh no. It’s a whole different world and you know it depends on the facilities so at the hospital. I work at that the patient in the room. They don’t have to wear masks their family or their visitors. Whoever comes to visit them. They have to wear masks when staffer in the room. But if we’re not in the room they take it off. So i think it really depends on where you go and your comfort level as to what’s going on and maybe maybe at your grandmothers played to allow you to take it off. And so they know that. I do because i’m talking here and right. There’s times when she’s talking to that or they’re talking to her and they don’t speak loudly enough they’re petite filipino. Women and they speak softly which is fine. She can’t hear them. And i have to like sometimes remind them she can’t hear you. I think they’re trying to be respectful. Which is nice because they should be but it’s hard to be respectful when you’re shouting him being mean being mean. Yeah and i know that to me. It’s i understand it’s more. It’s it’s less respectful if you’re talking to them and they can’t hear you so it’s like why are you bothering so gonna have to do. Yeah this something that smells really good. She let we always did mother’s day. Tea at i t place which was i don’t know why t is so expensive. You high t. Forty or fifty bucks a person. Wow that’s cheap. It’s a little extra for mother’s day. So i would take my mom and my daughter-in-law is like two hundred dollar mother’s day tea at a point where moving my mom around that much causes too much confusion so i did it at my house and how practical my dad’s side of the family was. She’s like i enjoyed that so much. More than the place we used to go to place cost me like two hundred bucks today. Call if the best you know ric half of the stuff was like the. I made the sandwich like most of it. I didn’t even have to buy extra ingredients for my okay. So we just did he say house but then you know she. She doesn’t move around comfortably and that was before now. I don’t know what happened. This past summer she really frail. So it’s it’s a challenge like she says. Ag is not for wimps that is one hundred percent correct yes a hundred and three at the end of march which just blows my mind. That’s incredible yeah. That is incredible. Yeah i think team mothers will kind of that theme would be lovely. That sounds really good. Whatever with just like black tea or is it a certain black teas. Because i am not into green. Tea’s i think those like boiled grass. No green tea for you have caffeine. Thank you does not. I’m all british t. None of this stuff or black british type t. Actually drinking was breakfast every day. But yeah i will say that. And then i’ll just ignore her protestations of of practicality. Yeah yeah there. You know. I’m treating you i haven’t seen you in a long time. Just let me do whatever i was just thinking like some of the teas have sent. So now you’ve got my brain thinking so good. I’m glad yes. Yes rohit podcast. So i could get my own solutions to my own. It’s hey you know that’s a great thing that’s great. I always feel like well. I learned something useful than obviously. We’re going to help you know other people might be like. Oh yes we don’t like t- but there’s all kinds of flavored coffees. And i mean we have a dutch brothers here in town that look an hour to get a drink. It’s like y y. Yeah it’s like. Why like a the joke. Is they put crack in it. And it’s like a double dr and the the hardware stores over there so sometimes the traffic like the people trying to get through. My people not is so much better for you. It’s good for your brain. Just yeah it’s okay.
01:00:00 – 01:03:18
You know but i’m thinking also like Lavender scented lotions. We really nice earth so relaxing helper. Sleep better she. Has the staff put it on her before bedtime studies. So it helps with your sleep. I love lavender now. Actually smell it. Because i’m thinking about it enough nana’s going to be happy to see you. I hope so a lot of fun. And we’ve we’ve covered the entire gamut of visits from what we could do prior what we can do for people in in communities people. We can’t go in and see so. I think we’ve started the dialogue on. What state governments and corporations that run. The community’s needs to think about this keep hearing that this is not the last time we’re going to have some kind of pandemic like god forbid yes. It’s been one hundred and two years since the last one so we can just go half that amount of time. I’ll be fine. I’m i’m on board with that. Let’s share years. I worked from home. I’ll stay here a little longer. There you go. You’re doing all the right steps. That’s what i tell people. It sucks to eight. It sucks away. But i just know if it’ll work out and be really good next year that’s all we can help for work towards making that happen. I hope you enjoyed this conversation. This bonus episode. I hope you’ve learned some new techniques for safe and fund visits with your loved ones. I truly hope that we are at the tail end of this awful disease and pandemic but there’s always flus and colds and other things that we can transmit so i truly believe that this information is going to be beneficial going forward just like all my other episodes. Be sure to share this episode with anybody else that you know who has an older adult that they need to visit because this is not specifically and alzheimer’s caregiver episode. You can find me on all kinds of social media. You can share the links directly from your podcast app. There’s many ways to help spread the news about my show. And i greatly appreciate you doing that. Last reminder if you ever have questions or suggestion for an episode topic pop on over to the facebook page the link in the show notes and either make a post or send me a dm. And i will get back to you within a day or so. And i know you heard this earlier in the week with the regularly scheduled episode but coming up next week is a beautiful story about a brand new children’s book author who wrote a book based on his grandmother called. My grandmother has dementia. It is a beautiful story. Check out his instagram. Page for the illustrations and as always. I’ll be in your ears again next tuesday.