A continuing conversation has been taking place throughout the Dementia world. It’s more of a question than anything else and that question is, “How is COVID-19 affecting you?”
As an Individual living with Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia, I can honestly say it has taken its toll. But it doesn’t just affect those of us with a Dementia-Related Illness. It affects EVERYONE.
Let’s start with human interaction. I miss seeing my friends. When I do, instead of getting a hug, it’s either a fist or an elbow bump. For someone like me who is a hugger, I miss that, as I’m sure many others do. I know why everything has become so sterile and I understand that, but when will all things return to normal? WILL they ever return to normal?
It has also affected my Advocacy. I used to be able to travel to the destination, stand before a live audience of hundreds of people and deliver my presentation. I could easily interact with the audience and feed off their energy. Now, due to COVID-19, organizations have had to, painfully, cancel their in-person conferences and hold them virtually. Now we sit in front of a computer screen on ZOOM, Go To Meeting, Facebook Live, Skype as well as many other platforms staring at people in little boxes. It takes a bit of getting used to but, it has now become the norm. Will this become the “Forever Norm”? We will have to wait and see.
Another thing that affects me is my anxiousness. I have to admit, I was an anxious person before my Alzheimer’s diagnosis but my Alzheimer’s added another layer to it and in certain situations, it gets bad. If you’ve ever seen the movie, “Rain Man“ when Dustin Hoffman’s character goes into his anxious episodes and starts rocking back and forth, I am told that is what I do. At times I can hardly speak. Something as simple as going to the grocery store, I wear a mask but I also bring wipes to sanitize the basket or use the wipes the store supply. I know at places like Publix, they sanitize the baskets but what if they miss a spot? I can’t and won’t take that chance. Public Restrooms? Forget About It!!! If it’s not an emergency, I’ll wait until I get home. When I get back in the car I immediately use our hand sanitizer to wipe down my hands and arms. By the time we get home, I’m exhausted.
It’s hard to visit anyone nowadays, especially if you have a loved one in a Care Community. The only way to see them and communicate with them is through a window. It’s better than nothing but what about their human interactions? They surely need it more than we do. It is what it is and hopefully, one day in the near future, it will get back to normal, whatever normal will be.
In the meantime, I’ll keep sanitizing, wearing my mask, sanitizing, keep Social Distancing and keep sanitizing. Did I mention that I sanitize?
On a serious note, don’t forget to sanitize and sanitize often. You can never be too careful.