Monday, June 22, 2020

Taking care of Mom with FTD in COVID19

When this pandemic started back in February, Yes, February, we follow international news channels. We knew that soon it would hit the US. My sisters and I had a meeting and spoke about how we would take care of our mom if the border closed. You see we live in beautiful San Diego, CA and mom lives across the border, in Tijuana. We came up with 3 different plans; you always have to have a contingency plan.
The first plan which is still happening as I type; is she has a caregiver that visits her every day. Sometimes she gets to go into her house, sometimes she gets locked out. Bless her heart the other day she waited for 3 hours outside the house, literally on the street, because my mom had changed the lock to the main gate and refused to open the door for her. We have been extremely fortunate to have this caregiver for the past four years for my mom. She is very patient with her, even though my mom can be absolutely horrid with her behaviors. Mom can be a mean, belittling, taunting, and mocks her. Actually, she can be like that to anybody! Her mood can change in a nanosecond, even if she is taking her meds in a timely manner.

She can make situations quite complicated with these behaviors. That is why we will be forever grateful to her caregiver for being her champion on our behalf. Going back to February 2020, we stocked up on the necessities for our mom, food items, and toiletries’ and her essential meds, we asked her primary physician to help us with this. Our mom has plateaued in her disease, she can be what we call high functioning when you first meet her you don’t know that anything is wrong with her, but with enough time spent with her you go oh I see.

After taking all of these steps, we approached the neighbors and asked them to please keep an eye on her, provided them with our different phone numbers. We do have a good relationship with our neighbors; these are people that have been around for more than 30 years, some less. It was very interesting disclosing our moms’ disease with them, some didn’t believe me, and precisely because she is very good at hiding that anything is wrong. I felt like I was betraying her by telling her “secret”, but I had to get over that feeling very quickly as it was imperative to build a support network for her. My brother-in-law installed cameras inside her home (which is a whole other story) and outside the front door. I call her every day and my sister visits her once a week. We are in constant communication with her CG.

There was a time period for about one month we asked her CG not to visit her. We didn’t what to expose the CG to the virus being that she uses public transportation. Also, avoid any cross-contamination with mom. During this time frame, our neighbor safety net worked perfectly. At this moment we are back to her regular schedule. Our mom does understand what is going on with the virus, she understands that she can’t be going out to the stores or socializing.

She understands that she has to wear a face mask; she doesn’t like it but understands why it’s needed. She also understands that when my sister visits her, she or her grandson can’t hug her or give her a kiss. That is quite cruel if you ask me, but we live in the time of COVID19.

It’s a good thing that we made all of these arrangements, As in my workplace we were asked to please stay within the San Diego county lines, if we traveled anywhere out of the county, north or south, we have to self-quarantine for 72 hours before we come back to work, we have to disclose to the nurse so she can ask the pertinent questions and document on it. In order to avoid all of those complications, I haven’t seen my mom in two months. As I write this, this is still a requirement at my work. Keep in mind that I work in a retirement community, where the most vulnerable live.

It's a bumpy road we need to:
Be prepared, Be Informed, Be Empowered.
I send you lots of positive virtual energy.