DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom lives in a retirement community, and she has been quarantined for more than two months now. She can’t come out of her tiny apartment for any reason. They drop off food packages to her each day and pick up the trash every week. We hired an attendant to organize her meds and to give her a shower, so there is one person who puts her eyes on my mom. But she is deteriorating. When we talk on FaceTime, we can see that she’s not doing well. She no longer puts on street clothes. She doesn’t fix her hair or put on makeup. I am so worried that if we aren’t allowed to see her soon, she will perish. But the community is strict, and they will not allow my family to enter the building. What can I do? -- Saving Mom
DEAR SAVING MOM: Contact her doctor and ask for advice. In most cases, medical professionals are saying that it’s safer to keep elders sequestered -- even though they are bored during this period -- because they are isolated from the virus. That said, the risk of depression due to extended social isolation is real. Schedule an in-person doctor’s visit so she can get checked both physically and mentally. If you can take her, that would be one time you can see each other.
Talk to the attendant you’ve hired. If possible, arrange for that person to stay a little longer each day and keep your mother company. Have that person get your mother to tell stories and reminisce. Do the same when you call your mother. Ask her stories that will jog her memory about her life. For more ideas, go to homecareassistance.com/blog/activities-to-keep-seniors-engaged-during-covid-19.