The Pandemic and Your Emotions

By Robert Elmer III on April 24, 2020 in Uncategorized

“Hope. The feeling that you have that the feeling that you have, will go away.” Depending how particular people deal with things in a crisis, these can be some very anxious days we are in. I’d even venture to say that even the coolest amongst us are concerned about how the Covid-19 virus could impact their family and their community. Believe it or not, your loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other dementias can also be impacted during this crisis but I don’t mean by a virus.
When I have been out and about during this pandemic, I’ve noticed that folks have pretty much received the word about appropriate behavior. While visiting a local store recently I was a safe six plus feet back from the person in front of me. I heard the lady behind me tell the man behind her that she was indeed in line and being respectful of social distancing. I turned around and said with a wink “and how am I supposed to feel about that?” And we all chuckled.

Last week one of my four grand daughters celebrated her fourth birthday. We knew we wouldn’t be able to celebrate with her in their home as mom and dad are being very diligent in protecting them and us. What we could do was swing by the house, park in the driveway, drop off a small token gift (the real party will be held after the “all clear“ has blown) and watch her open it on the front porch while we stayed in the car. Surprisingly, the 4 year old was reluctant to open her gift and it was clear that even at 4 years old she had gotten the message about washing, not touching eyes, nose and mouth and even the part of older folks being prone to the Virus. Her mom assured her all was well and she gleefully opened the token gift we gave her. And then I began to think. What message were those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias getting?

Caregivers, you’re my heroe. That’s why I’m such a Champion on your behalf. Your job is never easy, even in the best of times, so at a time like this, I can only imagine what life is like for many of you.

I’ve preached forever about the importance of maintaining a routine. Not an easy thing to do if your routine included going to their favorite store, ice cream parlor or restaurant thats been closed till further notice. And what about the weekly visit to a friend at their house or to the loved one that now calls a skilled community home.

What I’m very concerned about though is the message your loved one may be getting during this time. Fact not fiction is critical and I have to say I’m very disappointed in how many media outlets are handling this. Recently I read a headline on the internet (that may say it all) that read “Tom Hanks Still Bad.” When you read the article you learned he and his wife were out of the hospital, their fevers had broken but they still had the “blahs.” The blahs? I’ve had those without the help of Covid-19 but to read the headline you’d think they were both
in an ICU Ward receiving Last Rites.

Be careful of the information your allowing your loved one to be exposed to but don’t be afraid to tell them “there’s a “bug” going around so we want to be safe.” Manage your emotions so if you’re one of those that wears your “heart on your sleeve” don’t do it in front of them as they can and will take emotional cues from you. Especially when they don’t understand everything that’s happening. This is good advice during any crisis from Pandemic to Hurricane.

Thank you again for all you do as a caregiver but remember you need to be strong for both of you. Questions? Email me at Join the Journey.

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Robert Elmer IIIView all posts by Robert Elmer III