Page 23 - Senior Times South Central Michigan September 2020 - 27-09
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6 in 10 will wander – Personal I.D. Bracelet*
 Many will be unable to return on their own – G.P.S. Personal I.D. Watch *
Law enforcement is engaged locally – Help Home Program Movement matters – M4M Marathon
Socialization matters – Melodious Memories
 Music matters – Vineyard of Memories Art
Caregiver support is essential – Respite Care Documentation supports caregiver – Senior I.D.*
Research is finding solutions – Annual community updates Training helps all caregivers – Training 30 minutes to 16 hours
Senior Times - September 2020
Page 23
By: Wendy Schuman
  When will I see my grandchildren again? When will it be safe for us to be together?
kisses back and forth.
Setting a structure works well with our older
 These questions haunt me every morning as I wake up to another day of the pandemic.
I miss our grandkids, I yearn for them – and I admit I sometimes feel depressed that I can’t see them. It’s a combination of separation anxiety and empty nest syndrome that I haven’t felt for years.
grandkids, ages seven and nine. We have a Zoom meeting scheduled every Friday morning. For an hour, we play games that adapt well to screens, such as Scattergories, 20 Questions, Pictionary, and Create a Story (we each add a line and I type them out and email the completed story later).
Making a socially distanced visit just isn’t possible for us. They live too far away and in opposite directions. This used to be ideal for lengthy visits. But currently it’s just frustrating; far enough away for us to have to stay over- night. Since my husband and I are both in our 70s, it’s unsafe for us to emerge fully into the newly reopening world. On this at least, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) agree.
I’m dying to see my grandchildren. But I don’t want to die from seeing my grandchildren.
At the end of each session, we read them a chapter of Watership Down, one of our favorite books. The kids are huge animal lovers and it looks like I might need to censor some of the upcoming violent scenes.
 I’m grateful all the kids are young and still excited to visit with their grandparents.
  Although we’re healthy, we do have one condition that tags us as vulnerable – we’re considered “elderly.”
The author and her husband Ken (before the pandemic) with their two oldest grandchildren.
With Phase 3 re-openings and schools and day care likely to start again in the fall, our grandkids and their parents will be even more exposed to the virus, making reunions with them fraught with danger.
No matter how busy we try to keep our- selves with other projects, my friend and I share the same feeling of underlying anxiety and depression.
I give thanks every day for Zoom and FaceTime. About five times a week, our son calls us at 7:30pm so we can say goodnight to our one- year-old and three-year-old granddaughters on FaceTime. We might read them a book (one that we both have copies of), sing a lullaby to them, or just chat and smile. We get to blow lots of
Our grandchildren are growing. The littlest just celebrated her first birthday with us via Zoom. The oldest is looking more like a pread- olescent – with blue ombre tint on her red hair – and her brother has lost his babyness.
 Since retiring from my publishing career almost 10 years ago, I’ve thrown myself into the role of grandmother. It has given new and profound meaning to my life. I turned my home office into a room for visiting grandkids, com- plete with items we both enjoy.
I worry that we’ll never see them in real life again.
 Before COVID-19, we would drive to see one of our kids’ families every few weeks, staying over for a long weekend or more. We were there when needed – when a grandchild was born, during school vacations, or to just give their par- ents a break.
Until then, I will just have to wait. As the Banksy poster says, “There is always hope.”
Meanwhile, we hope they’ll feel our love vir- tually until the happy day when we can be togeth- er physically.
 When coronavirus showed up in mid-March it all changed. Since then, we’ve been sheltering in place, anxiously keeping up with the news of the virus. We haven’t hugged our grandchildren since last Christmas, and this Christmas looks doubtful.
Publisher’s note: Being a senior does put you in an increased risk category. The risk is only
a concern when coming into close proximity
with another person that is COVID-19 positive. Proximity with a non-positive person does not put you at risk. The challenge is being able to identi- fy who is who, and therefore physical distancing, masks, and hand washing remain valuable tools for risk reduction, especially for mature adults.
Wendy Schuman is currently a freelance writ- er based in West Orange, NJ.
   Meeting the needs of those impacted by dementia.
                                              During this time of cancelled events and fundraisers your support can help us to continue to meet the needs of Calhoun County. PLEASE CONSIDER A DONATION TODAY. Checks should be made payable to BCCF/Miles for Memories.
Miles for Memories is a grassroots organization of volunteers committed to creating solutions for those impacted by dementia in Calhoun County. • (269) 979-1412, ext. 305 • 4642 Capital Ave SW, Battle Creek, MI, 49015 • Tax ID #: 38-2045459

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