Daughter finds way to stay by her mother's side at Vancouver care home
Dale Edwards moved into her mother's room so she could care for her during the COVID-19 crisis
After more than a month of sleeping on the floor beside her 97-year-old mother's bed, Dale Edwards was planning to go home, even though she wanted it to stay.
Now it appears she will get her wish.
Edwards, 71, moved into Point Grey Private Hospital in Vancouver on March 15, just before the seniors facility introduced a ban on visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Edwards shares a room with her mother, Diana Edwards, and Diana's elderly roommate, dozing off every night on a thin, burgundy mat that she spreads out between their beds.
"I can make a nest anywhere," she said.
"That's what I've done here and it's worked fine."
Edwards had hoped to continue to care for her mother until the end of April, but she said her application to be exempted from the facility's visitation rules was rejected by Vancouver Coastal Health.
Edwards was ordered to leave, but on Thursday night she was offered a room in the facility.
The details are still being finalized but Edwards told CBC's the Early Edition Friday morning that she'll likely end up being charged a rate similar to what her mother pays.
"It will be difficult but I know I can resolve and work that out," she said. "I live on a very small budget myself."
No fresh air
Edwards says she has taken every precaution imaginable during the pandemic — she hasn't been outside in 30 days and she hasn't left her mother's floor in several weeks — sit-ups and walking around the facility are her only exercise.
There have been no cases of COVID-19 reported at the facility.
Diana has dementia and constipation issues, and Edwards fears her overall health will rapidly decline if she isn't around to care for her.
"It is really hard for me," she said. "It makes a big difference when I can be in the room with her and put on some of her favourite music."
When Edwards spoke with CBC news via FaceTime on Thursday afternoon, she planned to leave the facility by the end of the day at VCH's request.
She says she's grateful they're able to work out an arrangement so that she can stay.
In an emailed statement, VCH says visitor restrictions are in place due to a public health order and "a very limited number of exceptions will be granted in exceptional cases."
"Vancouver Coastal Health understands the importance of visits from family and loved ones to our long-term care residents," says the statement. "We appreciate everyone's support in keeping our most vulnerable population safe at this time."
Caring for mom
Edwards says the staff at Point Grey Private Hospital have been wonderful to her mother, but they're busy and can't provide the same level of personal interaction that she can.
Dr. Winona Rowat, who was the family's physician for decades and is still a close friend, says Diana's condition seems to have improved since her daughter moved into her room.
"She would often repeat the last few words of a sentence, which is true of a lot of older people with dementia, but she's acting more appropriately and she's more verbal," Rowat said.
"You can see that she's really enjoying having the support of her daughter there."
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