Diane Bihl keeps meeting burnt out caregivers. Avoiding COVID-19 is hard enough let alone taking meals to mom and dad, doing their parents’ housework while masked and running their errands.
“Our community’s senior adults have experienced world wars, the Great Depression and various epidemics,” reminds Diane. “When you talk to many seniors you discover that their adult children are much more anxious about the world than they are. Seniors are resilient.”
As Hillandale’s Community Admissions Director, Diane asks a poignant question to those who cross her path: are mom and dad really better off staying isolated in their home, unable to see friends or attend activities?
“When I ask that question and explain what seniors are missing by sheltering in at home, a lot of families start to change their minds about senior living facilities. And to some extent, they are relieved. Caregiving is hard work.
“Take Jack, for example. His daughter kept leaving food on his doorstep three times a day and dropped off his medication. Jack waved to her through the glass of the storm door. He was appreciative of his daughter’s dedication, but could see that she was struggling. And he was lonely.”
Flash forward three months. Jack is living in an assisted living apartment at Chesterwood Village. He gets three meals a day and a new found freedom, albeit, limited. He practices his golf skills on the putting green, tunes into the Hillandale TV Channel 2 for exercise classes and listens to Pastor Doug’s hallway ministries. He heard about a new Happy Hour he might attend.. He’s making friends.
Diane says, “I use Jack (not his real name by request) as an example of discovering a better way of living during this pandemic. It’s not perfect. We’re living cautiously, but we are living. Family can only visit on the other side of a window or partition, but we are trying to make this new normal as fun and social as a resident wants.”
She lists some of these benefits:
- A family atmosphere
- New friends
- Daily activities
- The Dr. comes to YOU instead of travelling to an office
- The court yard and putting green for fresh air
- Three meals a day served by choice in one’s apartment or in the dining room
- A professional staff that treats every resident like family
During these uncertain times, isn’t it better to have a new ‘adopted” family taking care of you than friends and family stressed about caregiving?
For Jack, the answer is a resounding YES. He dearly loves his family and he now cherishes his new Hillandale kin. It makes the COVID-19 crisis much more bearable. He now has what he calls “his pandemic family.”