Letters to the Editor: Caring for an elderly parent during the pandemic? Promise to care for yourself too
To the editor: I wanted to reach out to Cynthia Ryan after reading her heartbreaking op-ed article on the challenges of taking care of her 83-year-old mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.
My husband died from Alzheimer’s a few years ago, and I cared for him in our home until nearly the end, when his care became impossible to manage alone. What Ryan is dealing with can feel overwhelming and terrifyingly isolating.
I hope she can find a support group. I attended one that helped guide me to some answers and showed I was not alone. Caring for someone with dementia has been described as pushing a heavy load up a very long hill.
I set two goals during those long years: that when it was all over, I would have no regrets, and I would still have my health intact. I can’t say I was always perfect about that, but I made the best decisions I could with those two goals in mind.
One of the most important pieces of advice I received was to remember how much my husband loved me and wanted to care for me. He would have died to protect me, so I had to protect myself in his stead. Today I hold no regrets, and I am healthy; I wish the same for Ryan.
Mary Gilles, Los Angeles
To the editor: My family convinced my 90-year-old mother to move from her home of 56 years to a very nice retirement facility in December 2019. My mom has mild dementia, and we had hoped that moving to a retirement home would help her.
Unfortunately, the strict isolation policy because of COVID-19 has worsened her dementia. She has to eat all of her meals alone.
I urge Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer to allow limited nursing home visitation by family. The mental health of seniors is being harmed by such a strict isolation policy.
My mom turns 91 later this month. She should not be alone on her birthday.
Homer Hernandez, Torrance
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