Grieving from a Distance: Caregiving During COVID-19
We know many families have loved ones in facilities that are practicing social distancing during COVID-19. While we may be very grateful these facilities are taking our loved ones' health so seriously, it’s important to note that it doesn’t mean we don’t grieve the fact that we can’t see them. We may feel our heads and our hearts warring over this situation, and rightly so.
Here’s your friendly reminder that grief is not just confined to the death of someone or something. We can grieve many things, like not being able to see or care-take for your loved one. This is a completely normal experience, but that doesn’t mean it feels good.
So, what can we do to help during these times?
Do you find yourself feeling depressed, helpless, easily frustrated, or even more tearful lately? These are just some of the signs that you may be grieving this experience. Acknowledging the fact that these difficult feelings may be grief can be a good first step. When we are able to look inside ourselves, we are able to better understand what we need and how we can best cope with this experience.
The wonderful thing about humans is that when we are met with obstacles, we have the creativity to come up with rather ingenious solutions. We understand if you may not be feeling creative at the moment – sometimes grief can have that effect on us. Please remember that there are so many ways we can still get in touch with our loved ones. This may be using technology to connect virtually, making the best you can out of a phone call, writing a letter, or working with the staff at the facility to find other means of communication with your loved one.
It’s fair to say that when talking to others these days, the conversation can revolve around COVID-19 and living in the midst of it. We encourage you to take breaks from watching the news and frequently checking other media outlets for updates regarding this stressful topic. Try engaging in activities that are enjoyable (and currently accessible) such as listening to music, watching a favorite movie, playing a board game, doing a puzzle, or reading a book.
When things seem dark, as they may at times, allow yourself your feelings but always remember take a minute to reassure yourself that this storm too will pass. Our brains don’t like uncertainty, so it can take up a lot of mental and emotional space to deal with the issues in the world as well as with our loved ones. We can only take things one day at a time and continue to slowly but steadily build up our hope for the brighter days ahead.
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