▶️ Family of Mt. Bachelor Memory Care residents grapple with uncertainty

By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

Last June, Bend resident Sheri Robertson and her sister moved their mom, Kay Courtney, into Mt. Bachelor Memory Care.

The 88-year-old has dementia and needed full-time support. The facility was close by Robertson so she could still see her mom once a week.

“She’s been loved, she’s been cared for, and they’re just amazing there,” Robertson said.

But when the pandemic began, Robertson had to start video chatting with her mom rather than visiting. Because Courtney has dementia, she can’t understand why her daughters can’t come by.

“That is the hardest part is not being able to see her and say hey we love you,” Robertson said. “Prior to this we would pick her up once a week and take her out.”

So far 38 residents and 22 staff at the memory care facility have tested positive. According to Morgan Emerson, Deschutes County Health Services preparedness coordinator, it’s unclear how their first case came about or from who.

Mt. Bachelor Memory Care tests all residents once a week for COVID. Last weekend, Robertson’s mom tested positive for the virus.

Courtney can’t understand most new information, but she remembers most facts from the past. Robertson tries to explain the virus in ways she can understand.

“I would refer back to, since she lives in the past, it’s just like the 1918 flu that Grandma went through,” Robertson said. “And she goes, ‘oh that was bad.’ And I go, yeah, this is just as bad.”

Courtney does not have any symptoms and has no underlying health conditions beyond high blood pressure, so Robertson and her sister are trying to stay positive.

“Hopefully she doesn’t turn from the positive result to being sick,” Robertson said. “But if she does, she’s led a good life and we’re ok with it.”

Mt. Bachelor Memory Care gives family members updates on the outbreak and about their loved ones around once a day, Robertson said.

She doesn’t blame the facility; instead, she appreciates the staff’s work and says they’re doing a great job considering the situation.

“I do know if my mom were to pass away, those people there are going to be in our hearts forever,” Robertson said. “We will constantly be checking in with them. That’s the kind of quality relationship that they give and that’s the kind of care you want for your loved one.”

For now, Robertson and her family members can do nothing but wait.

“We always have said as a family that she’ll outlive all of us because she’s strong and stubborn,” Robertson said. “It’s just a matter of when the time comes, we hope her mind is there.”

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