April 30, 2020

How will families come to terms with deaths in care homes when they have already lost their loved ones to dementia?

Karen Monaghan

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mixed mediaProperty; possessions; children, 201940cmx40cm

The current Covid-19 crisis has shattered families. For those vulnerable people who have disabilities or dementia, there can be nothing more cruel than to have routine removed, a lifeline for some, with no understanding of the reasons why. Exactly a year ago we were losing my father to Alzheimer’s. Although he didn’t know who we were and had lost words, there seemed to be a process to what he ‘thought’ which I could identify. His personality was still there. I could have visited him 3 times a day and he wouldn’t remember, but the routine in the care home meant that there was order. And he did love order. It is unthinkable to me that we would have been stopped from seeing him, although we would have been easily replaced with care staff. This image is one story in a deluge of stories of people mourning their loved ones and wondering if they could have done something different. If their last visit was good enough. If they had been allowed to say goodbye would it have caused greater harm? Would it have given comfort anyway? This is their burden