Since L.’s birth in 2014, I’ve gradually assumed more and more responsibility, parenting both up and down the generational ladder. I’m the only child of parents who had me relatively late in life — my mom was 37 when she had me, a condition doctors still refer to as a “geriatric” pregnancy. The pandemic has taken a difficult situation and made it laughably impossible. How do you help care for someone — help them getting dressed, take them to doctor’s appointments — from six feet away?
The answer is, you don’t. I am terrified of getting them sick — both are over 80, Mom is on immunosuppressive drugs, thanks to decades of rheumatoid arthritis, but I don’t feel I have a choice. And how can I keep their granddaughter from them, not knowing if they will survive this crisis? Will their final interaction be mediated by FaceTime or Zoom?
After two months of isolation, my parents need to see their doctors. My husband’s job involves back-to-back video meetings, which L. constantly interrupts. So with L. in tow, layers of N95s glued to my face, I drive my parents to doctors’ appointments. Dad needs surgery, which requires a night in the hospital.
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My name is Clarissa Munoz and I’m a project coordinator at UC, Berkeley where me and my team are currently recruiting for a study testing in-home assistive technology for caregivers to those with dementia. I’ve been working with caregivers for the past year and it’s become so clear to me how much the caregiving community is in need of support. This article highlights how much more difficult caregiving has become due to the pandemic. Me and my team are conducting this research in order to bring support to caregivers who are needing more support. This study is funded by the National Institute of Health and is completely free to participate! Participants receive over $1,000 of free technology, including home-monitoring sensors and an Amazon Echo. You can also earn up to $150 by answering stress-free questionnaires. It’s been an honor to conduct this research in order to shed light on the caregiving community and bring them welcome support. If you’d like to find out more about our study, please visit us at https://research.presencefamily.com/ where you can answer 4 simple questions to find out if you’re eligible to participate!