My grandmother is 85 years old, and she has a cataract. She had a scheduled operation for her eyes last April 1st, which was canceled due to the pandemic. Now, she had to live with the blurry left eye, during a mediocrely functioning right eye. I did not have it in my heart to put her in a home. That was what I promised my mother before she passed away three years ago. I told her that I would take care of Grams, and I have been not because of a promise. It was because I loved her dearly.
Since she cannot go out due to her age, her vision, and her mobility limits, I created a system that will not bore her. Before all this lockdown thing ensued, I asked the boys to talk to her and request her to stay with us. She was stubborn, and I did not get her “yes.” So, she was living in her home, which was five houses away from us, and she agreed to my conditions.
- No receiving of visitors inside her house. Not anyone, but just me and my boys.
- If someone knocked on her door, she would not open it. She will talk to the person through her window and carry on with the business. My Grams agreed that she would not open the window too. She could hear the person talking from the other end, anyway.
- I will do her weekly groceries. She is not allowed to go out, even in the front yard. She can, however, go outside through her back door. She has a garden out back that is well-gated. No one can come in or out through there.
- Social distancing with me and my boys. If I come to her house bringing food and groceries, she will stay 10 feet away from us and also wear a mask. Upon our leaving, she will use Lysol to disinfect the room.
- She will have to be online 24/7 so that I can call her, or she can call me. If ever she feels any type of pain, however small it is, she is to call me.
I know. I am a bit strict with the rules on my grandmother. But she is my Grams, and I love her. I don’t want anything bad to happen to her.
It may be a bit aggressive but better safe than sorry. I know someone from work, a 68-year-old teacher, who did not go out of her house but still contracted COVID-19. How did that happen? She asked for a delivery guy to bring her glasses (she also had eye problems). The guy was asymptomatic and had the virus. He transmitted it to my colleague. One week after her going into the hospital, she died. That was one encounter with one person in one month. I will not risk it with my Grams.
I also made sure that she had something to do during the day. My Grams was a volunteer in a shelter, and that filled her 10 am to 3 pm each day. She told me that without her work, she would feel useless. If that is so, then I introduced her to the internet. Of course, she knows how social media apps work and such. But I taught her more. I bought her a big tablet and put online games on it so that we can play together. Netflix was also there, and I also taught her how to use YouTube. She was so delighted by it and even signed up for the premium account.
There are also informal support networks online, and I signed up for my Grams for that. I think she met and VC with some new friends. They chat and well, do meetings too.
I just made sure that Grams was well connected to me and to the world. I don’t want her to feel sad, and with her eyes bothering, I wanted to find something that will take her mind off of it.