Older Parents and COVID-19

Hilary and her dad

The United States is now officially the epicenter of COVID-19. How this happened, I’m not sure. I have some speculations but I don’t think anyone will ever know the truth. Whatever the case, it is here. Most of our country is on lockdown, including our nursing homes, assisted living facilities and our independent living centers, where many of our parents reside.

March 2019…

March 2019, my dad informed me that he and his girlfriend decided to move to an independent living facility in Lauderhill. I was against it. They both had lovely apartments in Tamarac and I didn’t see a reason for the move. I had an aide that I hired who came in daily to help with household chores but his girlfriend wanted to go, so they moved. (They didn’t move in together. They both had separate apartments on different floors.)

They lived there happily for about eight months. Then, his girlfriend died.

After she passed away…

After she passed away, I went there for a couple of days. My dad was not in a good place.

Dad and me at Butterfly World in South Florida
Dad and me in Butterfly World

A couple of weeks later, he fell. He ended up in the hospital. When he came out, I had to hire round the clock aides. I went back to Florida a couple of days later and my brother and I decided if he needs aides round the clock, it would be less expensive to have him go to assisted living.

That was one of the hardest decisions for me. I kept asking him if he wanted to come to live with me in NY, but he loves Florida and said he didn’t want to.

And today…

Now, he’s in the assisted living facility and since he threw away his hearing aids and refused to get new ones, he can’t hear the phone ring.

I keep thinking “it’s okay… if God-forbid something happens, I will find out….”

But I want to talk with him every day, just like I did when he lived in Tamarac.

Feeling helpless…

Now, he lost his mobile phone. He can’t find it anywhere and no one at the center can help him look. My brother can’t go there to look for it. I can’t go there. So, he sits in a big apartment by himself either watching television or looking at his plants.

He is disabled, so he has trouble reading. He tries anyway. I’m at a loss right now and wish there was something I can do, but I know I can’t do anything. So, I feel helpless.

The other day, he said, “Hilary, I now want to come back to New York.” Unfortunately, it was too late.

I know he’s safe where he is, but I wish he would find his mobile phone so that I can see him again…

For all of those of you who have an elderly parent that lives close, cherish every moment!