Visiting a loved one with dementia during a pandemic: 'I just want to hug her'

Throughout this pandemic - family visits to assisted living centers have been restricted. So how is limited interaction impacting those with Alzheimer's or dementia? One nurse at River Bend Assisted Living and Memory Care says he's seen a rise in pushback from residents with Alzheimer's or dementia. They are more prone to agitation and isolation. We talked to one granddaughter about how it's taken a toll.

Posted: Jul 11, 2020 1:28 PM
Updated: Jul 11, 2020 8:31 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - At least once or twice a week, Rebekah Adams visits her grandmother Bebe Jensen. 

"She doesn't ask too much, she usually just asks about the weather," Adams said. 

Bebe is 93 and has dementia. 

"I don't think she fully understands," Adams said. "I tell her sometimes but she doesn't really know." 

Rebekah makes the effort to visit her because Bebe is almost all she has left. 

"My mom was an only child and she passed away and then my dad passed away ten years ago so she's my only grandparent or parent figure," Adams said. 

While Bebe struggles with memory loss, it doesn't break love between these two. 

"I feel a real strong connection with her, I've always been around her since I've been little, I grew up with her being there like every day," Adams said. 

But for now - their bond must be kept from a distance. 

"I don't know, it's hard, I just try to remind myself that one day we'll get to see her and give her a hug," Adams said. 

She's hoping that day comes soon. 

"That's just how I kind of think about it, remind myself of that," Adams said. 

Bebe and Rebekah's limited interaction is just one example of how keeping a distance takes a toll. Nurse Johann Medina talks about the best ways you can maintain a connection during a pandemic.

"It's really important to make it as simple as possible, they are not able to process as must, use simple sentences like there is a virus going on, we need to keep you safe," Medina said. 

That's what Rebekah does for Bebe: keeping her safe to allow her to see another day. 

"She's one of the most important people in my life," Adams said. 

Both waiting for an opportunity to no longer be kept apart by a pandemic, disease or a window. 

"I like to see her as much as I can and I just want to hug her," Adams said. 

River Bend plans to implement the essential caregiver guidelines as soon as they can. They have until July 25 to create a policy but right now are focusing on doing facility-wide testing.

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Reported Deaths: 1656
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Reported Deaths: 883
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Johnson193315
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Dubuque153729
Marshall138924
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