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There is a VIRUS!!!

The Trials and Tribulations of Alzheimer’s and Lockdown

My Dad has Alzheimer’s and we were muddling along with Day centre, some help from Carers and a routine. Dad would often forget his routine and a quick morning visit would soon send him on his way to where he was going. He would moan and complain at times but as a family, we were muddling along with notes as reminders and visits between us all.

There then came the VIRUS all Dad’s activities stopped, day centre closed and a life lost routine for him and my sanity went into decline. All our coping mechanisms stopped to get Dad motivated, no notes of where to go and what to do as there is a virus we were told by all, we are shut there is the virus.

Everyday Dad was at home, no routine, nowhere to go, every morning Dad was reminded by the Carers who did his hourly visit, nowhere to go there is a virus!!!

The new routine of lockdown,

9 am Dad’s carers leave, there is a virus nowhere to go today, 9:15 am morning COVID Meetings, Dad knocks on my Door, I apologise, answer my door Dad there is a virus you must go home and stay in, nothing much to do today. Every morning this happens, one morning no knock all the Managers ask Clare is your Dad ok it’s 9:30 am he hasn’t knocked for you to tell him there is a virus !!!

10:30 am Dad is fed up with the virus and decides to go out, does he know there is a virus or has he forgot? I will never know if he is pulling the Alzheimer’s card, I have to keep my eye out as he whizzes past on his bike to go to shops not for essential items (chocolate biscuits and newspaper). I run out “Dad there is a virus. Go home you can’t go shopping every day” as he cycles past at a hundred miles an hour. I return to my work and watch for him whizzing past on his way home.

1 pm after the carers leave from there 30 min visit, a knock, “what am I doing today”, nothing Dad there is a virus, I am fed up of being on my own, there is nowhere open Dad, I suggest jobs to do, he forgets by the time he gets home and sits a while longer and so it goes throughout the day, every day for some time.

Everyday whilst lockdown is on, every Thursday he stands on the street clapping for carers not knowing what the virus is but knowing his world has changed, he can’t comprehend or remember to social distance, he can’t comprehend or remember to only go out once a day but slowly like all of us he has started to build a new routine, is it better than his old routine. I will never know, he still calls every day to ask what he is doing, I still say there is a virus and to go home, so now he sits, he potters in the garden and he walks his dogs. There is a calmness starting to fall, the virus for him is less demanding on his life. He may be a little lonelier, but trying to remember all his activities, day centre hustle and bustle and the stress this caused, would the bus turn up, would he be ready, who was going to get him ready has ceased, the anxiety of life is calming, the virus has forced this on him.

The trials and tribulations are starting to subside until the day when I have to go knock at his door and say Dad there is No Virus you are going to go to Day centre tomorrow, will we just end up doing this in reverse or do we leave the stillness and peace that is starting to fall on him be, this is a question we will all have to ask our self once the Lockdown is lifted do we want to return the life prior?

Clare Bruce


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