#WordsOfComfort

Finding a way to stay connected during this time of stress and social distancing.

During the spread of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, we are all feeling more lonely and disconnected. If you are living with or caring for someone with dementia that feeling is even stronger. Both family members and healthcare staff are feeling this stress too.

We began #WordsOfComfort to bring us together and share words of support, advice and comfort as we move through this time. We hope these words of comfort help each of us to know that we are not alone.

On one occasion, I was testing a participant in the Memory and Aging Project who had several physical impairments. Her caretaker was absent on the day of our appointment. While I didn’t meet the caretaker personally, her presence was felt all throughout the apartment: there was a framed photo of the two at the Chicago Pride Parade, the participant used an Amazon Alexa that the caretaker had given her for Christmas, and the caretaker’s warm and giving personality was a recurring topic of conversation.

It wasn’t until later on in the appointment that I learned the reason behind the caretaker’s absence: her sick family member had been hospitalized the night before. It became clear that this caretaker had been acting as a loving, surrogate family member to the participant, in addition to taking care of others outside of her work.

So many caretakers, like this one, go the extra mile. They don’t simply “wipe their feet at the door.” They carry their work with them, touching the lives of those in need, and forming meaningful bonds along the way—all this on top of the challenges they may be facing in their personal lives.

To this caretaker, and all the others, we owe an endless amount of gratitude.

Sandra Shields, a founding member of the Without Warning support program, had a gift for writing poetry. Along with Nancy Swanson, our music therapist, the song Faith was created. This has become a special song to many of our members. Part of this song seems comforting at this time.

Unexpectedly life brings you to your knees.
Just know that there are those out there
That see just what you see.
No matter what life brings you must believe it’s there.
Just as long as you have FAITH.