Five months of COVID-19 lockdowns have created a mental health crisis
In February, Lorri Evans’ mom was walking the equivalent of four blocks, twice a day, around her memory care facility in Santa Cruz, California. “She used a walker for support,” Evans says, “but her legs worked fairly well for someone who is 99.”
“Just a year ago, she was dancing at my daughter’s wedding,” Evans says of her mom, Helen. “But now, she’s fallen into an abyss.”
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., sending long-term care facilities into lockdown, Helen was confined to the second floor of her complex — where her room was located — for months. Her outdoor walks ceased, and so did her mobility. She became bedbound. Her mind, already battling dementia, deteriorated, too.
In May, she was placed in hospice. In July, Evans brought her home to begin what she believes will be the final months of her mother’s life.
“Look, I’m sure she would have declined somewhat, but I know in my heart the isolation accelerated it,” Evans says. “She would have made it to well over 100 but that’s not going to happen now. … She’s collateral damage of this COVID-19 seclusion, passing away because of a broken heart.”