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Even under normal circumstances, caregivers deal with guilt over their care for older loved ones. However, during the pandemic crisis, this guilt has become even more troubling with so many loved ones being hospitalized and isolated.
Elders who have been exposed to Covid-19 or are at a greater risk, are unable to see or spend time with loved ones, grandchildren, and friends. Elders who are trapped in other countries, quarantined areas, healthcare facilities, etc., are often unable to communicate with anyone. Not to mention communication has been being relegated to things like Facetime, Zoom or Skype, requiring internet connections, computers and cell phones.
Families Kept Apart by the Pandemic
Family caregivers throughout the country are wracked with guilt and frustration because the pandemic has prevented them from providing up-close-and-personal comfort to their aging loved ones — sick or not. Social distancing, whether it is merely recommended or required, has kept families apart.
“There’s a tremendous guilty feeling that they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” said Barry Jacobs, a clinical psychologist and author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers. “But guilt is a cul-de-sac; it doesn’t lead anywhere. Ultimately, we have to accept that this is a situation where public health is of paramount importance and our feelings and needs have to take a back seat to all of this.”
Caregivers are experts in the guilt department, but they’re also experts at being resilient and at finding creative solutions to problems. They remind us that we need to acknowledge that the restrictions we face during this pandemic are out of our control and not limitations we’re choosing.
Perhaps the most obvious alternative to being together is to talk by telephone or by using video-chat apps like FaceTime and Zoom or another communication technology. To accommodate some long-term care facilities are buying iPads and helping residents use them for talks with family, which doesn’t always work with those who have dementia, but provides some comfort to everyone involved.
Connect with Other Caregivers
Feeling alone through difficult times can exacerbate anxiety and stress. That’s why finding a community of other caregivers can help. AARP has a Family Caregivers Discussion Group, a private Facebook group where caregivers can ask questions, share advice and get support, but many more have emerged during the crisis. If you’re struggling, consider looking for groups in your area on Facebook, communicating with others in similar situations can help to ease some of the guilt and provide ideas you may not have considered.
All too often, caregivers believe they have not done enough for their loved ones or that they have failed them. Take a step back and reflect and think about what you have done, where you are today, and what you have done up to now.
The current situation is painful and frightening but know that you’ve done your best along the way.
Do What You Can, Accept What You Can’t
The key is trying to focus on what is in our power and do the best we can by reaching out, by sending letters, by sending photos, by showing up outside the window and waving — whatever we can do to make contact.
We also want to remind you that here at Tacoma Elder Care we are always trying to find ways to help individuals as they face the many uncertainties that have emerged during these challenging times. Be sure to explore our website for local connections and resources for support.
What key steps should you take now?
The tragic reality is that many people will become ill and too many will die from this horrible virus. Having the correct documents in place may make medical decisions easier and avoid tragically wrong medical decisions from being made.
Click Here to find out what are the Top 5 Things you need to do now to make sure you are prepared for all inevitabilities.
At Tacoma Elder Care we are always looking for ways to educate and assist the aging population here in the Pacific Northwest, and beyond. Tacoma Elder Care was created by Bob Michaels, an elder care attorney in Tacoma who goes above and beyond the basic legal needs of his constituents. For more information or to schedule a FREE consultation, contact Bob HERE.