“Strict COVID guidelines intended to keep Alzheimer’s and dementia patients safe are causing deadly isolation”
“ERIN CLARK/GLOBE STAFF
by Beth Teitell
“The fenced-in outdoor visiting area at the memory care facility — spare except for a few plants — was in the shade, and his wife was cold, the 87-year-old man said. Almost from the moment she was wheeled out, the listless woman draped in blankets, a surgical mask slipping from her face, wanted to be somewhere else.
“’Take me home,’ she pleaded.
“And then, in 30 minutes, the visit he had so eagerly awaited was over, 15 minutes early. An aide wheeled her back inside. He exited through a gate in the fence, crying, his dream of connection once again swallowed by the chill and by the distance between them.
“‘The visitor must remain 6+ feet away from the resident,’ the rules in effect during the mid-September visit read, ‘and must wear a face covering or mask at all times. Physical contact is not permitted by DPH mandate.’
“When it comes to the extra dose of suffering the pandemic has inflicted on Alzheimer’s patients and those who love them, there is no shortage of tragic stories.”