Chris Ryskiewich is a part-time nurse at Memory & Movement Charlotte who devotes much of her time outside the workplace to caring for her mother and mother-in-law, both of whom live in long-term care facilities. Chris shares her struggles, signs of hope and strategies during quarantine. Being unable to visit your loved one during this unprecedented time can be extremely stressful. Here are some things to consider:
- We are open virtual visits by telephone and/or video to manage conditions related to mood, movement and memory disorders.
- You do not have to be side by side with your loved one to schedule a virtual visit. We will speak with you and we also reach out to staff at the facility to get an update.
- We are also here to talk with you about your stress level. If you are feeling increased anxiety or are having trouble coping, cannot stop crying or are overwhelmed, call your primary care provider or our office for a depression telephone screening. If you have any thoughts of harming or yourself or someone else, immediately call 911 or crisis hotline 800-273-8255.
- Quarantine can lead to increased agitation, confusion and depression in our patients living in memory care. Seeing folks with masks, being unable to go outside, missing family can be difficult. Be proactive, if you sense changing behaviors or mood in your loved one, please call the office for an appointment. Staying ahead of symptoms and being proactive can help prevent worse outcomes.
- Caregivers can feel a mix of many emotions right now, and some may sneak up on you. It’s all normal. Worry, stress, anxiety, depression and even relief can come in waves. You may have more time right now with less to run and do, and your mind and body may feel more intense emotions that are typically kept at bay.
- Take time to recharge and rest. Things will get back to normal soon (we hope) and our schedules will fill up once again, so use this time to nourish yourself and reconnect with interests or people you may not have thought about in awhile.
- The act of writing a note or drawing a picture on a card every few days (or even every day) can allow feelings of emotional connection to your loved one. Staff will show them and add to the collection in their room, or in a shoebox you send to store them. The process of creating can bring feelings of calm and lessen your anxiety. Do not focus on whether your loved one can read or see them, they will feel your love through the gesture and staff can share with them.
- Staff may be able to do video chats so you can see your loved one’s face. Ask if you can supply them with a simple tablet computer that they can use for this purpose. One such example is grandpad.com.
- Schedule telehealth virtual visits for your own checkups, attend to your mental and physical health. Often this gets pushed to the bottom of caregivers’ to-do lists when life gets busy, and it’s so important to prevent health issues from cropping up by treating chronic illnesses and preventing others.
We are all in this together!