As a person caregivers regularly turn to for support, Carol Zernial would seemingly have answers to most of the difficult questions that come with assisting older loved ones.
But she finds herself struggling with a dilemma involving her own father. The 90-year-old, who lives in his own home in Amarillo, Texas, a more than seven-hour drive from Zernial, has symptoms of COVID-19. Zernial wants to visit, but knows it would be risky.
Family caregivers throughout the country are wracked with guilt and frustration because the pandemic has prevented them from providing up-close-and-personal comfort to their aging loved ones — sick or not. Social distancing, whether it is merely recommended or required, has kept families apart.
At first, my mother, the poet Anne Atik, had seemed just ordinarily confused. Then, very gradually, the confusion took on a pathological aspect. She...