Vicky was an elderly woman who had been living in an assisted living facility for years. She enjoyed her life there, making friends and going to activities. But then the COVID pandemic hit and suddenly she found herself alone in her room, unable to socialize with anyone else or even receive visits from her family. She had to comply with strict safety measures put in place by the staff of the facility – social distancing and no visitors allowed. Vicky felt isolated from her family and friends, unable to visit them or even talk to them face-to-face. Her loneliness led her down a path of anxiety that seemed never-ending.
At first it was manageable but as the weeks went by Vicky began to feel more isolated than ever before. Life at the facility changed drastically as people around her started getting sick from COVID-19 and some even died. This further added to Vicky’s feelings of fear and worry – she was scared for not only herself but also for those around her who were fighting this virus every day.
At first, Vicky tried to keep busy with puzzles and reading books. She even started writing letters again which was something she hadn’t done in many years. As time went on, her loneliness began to take its toll on her mental health. She felt anxious and scared when someone knocked at her door or when there was too much silence in the hallways outside her room.
She decided that she needed to live in the present moment and do her best to manage her stress. She held hope that things would get better soon. She made a conscious effort every morning to focus on being grateful for what she did have: a safe place where nobody could hurt her and enough food to keep herself healthy during uncertain times. She also kept in touch with those closest to her through phone calls when possible so that they knew how much they meant to her no matter how far apart they were right now.
At the holidays, her family gathered outside her window, and she cried and cried, mostly with joy at the thought that she was able to see her loved ones. Although life at the assisted living facility during COVID-19 wasn’t easy for Vicky, eventually things settled down after restrictions were lifted allowing visitors again; something that brought immense joy not only for Vicky but many of the other residents too! With newfound freedom came returning visits from loved ones which helped give everyone renewed strength – reminding them why it’s important to never give up hope even in difficult times!
It’s very important to have a care manager working on behalf of your aging loved one in case another situation like this arises. Care managers have relationships with the assisted living facilities and often can call contacts inside to get specific information and/or can visit inside the facility, due to being a health-related representative of the client.
The isolation during the time of COVID-19 was intense for elderly persons, especially those separated from their families, and it is important to maintain that connection should this happen again in the future. Reach out now to have a connection with a care manager and be prepared for different options that may arise should another pandemic occur. Please give us a call at 317-300-5454 or email us at Shannon@AgingLifeCareConsultants.com to find out how we can help.