A bittersweet Mother's Day at Richmond Care Home
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t made life easier for anyone, especially for individuals who have loved ones in long-term care homes. While it’s hard for families to not be able to have close contact with their parent or grandparent, it’s even more difficult for those whose loved one is living with dementia. And as Mother's Day approaches, this special day just won't be the same.
At Carefor’s Richmond Care Home, a 16-bed home uniquely designed for women living with dementia, Mother’s Day might be rather bittersweet for some. Staff are working around the clock to keep residents healthy and connected, and loved ones are finding ways to give back.
Jean O’Connor brought her mother, Bernice, to Richmond Care Home approximately six years ago. While she can’t see her mother as often as she used to amid the outbreak, she spends her time connecting with her virtually and donating items to staff.
“I donated 1,500 masks because I want the staff to be able to change their masks more often and feel more at ease.” Jean has also sewed buttons on dozens of headbands so that staff feel more comfortable when wearing masks.
Jean’s generosity has sparked a movement in Richmond Village, encouraging other local residents to participate in paying it forward during the coronavirus pandemic.
She says people have been contacting her on how they can donate more masks and where they can drop off their homemade headbands. The community is also coming together to drop off DVDs of classic movies for movie night.
Despite staying busy with these tasks, she admits not being able to hug her mother is incredibly difficult, but understands that she is in a safe environment.
“With everything going on now, I can’t boast enough about how grateful I am that she is at Richmond Care Home. It takes special people to work there.” she says. “At least with virtual chats and the calendar I wrote of each person in my family phoning every day, this will help to keep my mother’s memory in there during this difficult time where we can’t visit her.”
That being said, Richmond Care Home staff are working hard to ensure residents are occupied as often as possible, keeping them physically and cognitively engaged to slow the advancement of the disease.
“We’re doing things like Zoom calls with families and our volunteer babies, exercise sessions like mini golf, planting seeds, and much more," Activities Coordinator Katie Hamill says.
The reality is that for our staff, the residents are like their extended family. While Mother’s Day won’t be like other years, it will be special in its own way.
“We have taken a vow to take care of these women,” Richmond Care Home Supervisor Amy England says. “We are their surrogate family.”