Monday, August 31, 2020

In-Person Visits at Lizzie's Nursing Home

 This pandemic has changed so much for so many.

One of the major changes is for those people living in Nursing Homes (NH), including Lizzie.

If you've read any of the previous posts (or Dancing With Dementia), you know we live in Canada and that Lizzie is in a wonderful NH with caring staff who work really hard to ensure our Loved Ones are safe and well cared for.

For several months earlier in the pandemic, we were able to do Face Time visits with Lizzie. These were great.

For the past month or more, we've been able to do in-person visits.

Even better.

Seeing Lizzie in person has been awesome. With over 4 months between our last in-person visit and these ones, we were bound to notice some differences.

We find Lizzie is less aware of the 'real world' and more absorbed in her inner world. Not unexpected. Before the pandemic, we'd been noticing it was more and more challenging for Lizzie to remain with us in the regular world and in regular time. We found our daily visits helped her keep connected to us as we are now.

Since the daily visits had to halt, Lizzie has spent less time connected with us and our current realities. I imagine she has spent more of that time in her inner world. In that inner world, it appears Lizzie is younger and extremely capable.

And that's okay. We want her self-esteem and confidence to remain high.

During our visits we see her struggle to know us. Once she hears our names, her face lights up and she says she didn't recognize us. Possibly because she thinks more often of our younger selves.

She doesn't always know who we mean when we speak about her grand-children or great grand-child. But she loves seeing pictures of them anyway.

Music continues to be a source of joy for Lizzie. When we find her mind drifting to sad memories or thoughts, we can generally use a song to cheer her up.

During our last visit as we were leaving, Lizzie became upset and angry. "You're leaving because you don't love me."

Not true. But impossible to convince her with words.

What did work?

Skinnamarink by Sharon, Lois and Bram.

If you don't know it, check out the link. My kids loved the show when they were little and Lizzie remembers us all singing together. The book about the song is a family favourite.

The repeated echo of us singing, "I Love You," helped us leave her with a smile on her face.

How about you? How are your Loved Ones coping?