Seniors Learn to Connect in Pandemic
During a time of increased isolation, seniors like Kattie Payne and her husband, John, are finding new and safe ways to connect in the digital space.
“Maybe this form of connection is another way that’s being opened up for all of us who deal with Alzheimer’s disease, which makes us more isolated,” Kattie said.
John was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014. Four years later, the Paynes moved to Washington to be closer to their daughter and John’s doctors, the only people they knew here.
That is, until they connected with Lutheran Community Services (LCS) Northwest’s Memory Cafe in Tacoma.
“I feel like I have met my family,” Kattie said. “It’s like I haven’t been on this journey alone.”
After their first trip to the Memory Cafe, Kattie and John got involved with Senior Friends, Music Mends Minds and our Early Stage Memory Zoo Walks. These LCS Northwest services introduced Kattie to people who understand what she’s going through as the primary caregiver of someone living with Alzheimer’s. John was welcomed into a community of people who have memory loss.
Staying in touch with that community during the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging, but thanks to our staff and volunteers, the Paynes remain connected. LCS Northwest’s activities for seniors haven’t stopped during shelter in place, and staff members have made sure Kattie and John could participate. One event they enjoyed was an online tour of an Atlanta zoo—almost like a virtual Memory Zoo Walk!
“I put it up on my computer screen and we could actually see in there and see the animals and the fish,” Kattie said. “Staff members are providing other resources that I haven’t even thought of.”
Keeping up with their community has become a source of hope for Kattie and John during the pandemic. For Kattie, hope is found in seeing people’s facial expressions—a connection that reminds her she’s not alone.