The pandemic has certainly made the tasks that come with this career more interesting. Zoom court, Virtual Educational Conferences, virtual settlement conferences and depositions, trying to develop Covid Protocols on the fly. Very strange but now familiar.
More impactful is the restricted access to clients. I was not able to see one of my longest-term clients for the last six months of his life as he traveled from hospital to facility to facility. He was on a vent (not covid related) for much of that span and so telephone conversations were not a good option. His family and I tried to send him a steady dribble of letters, photos and music. One of his friends sent him a fully loaded i-Pod. The staff at all of his stops did their best to help us keep his spirits up.
The isolation this pandemic requires can lead to depression and despair. Every effort must be made to try to maintain some level of contact. My 92 year old retired doctor has responded wonderfully to a service we were able to hire that meet with her once a week through the window or virtually to guide her through the creation of a memory book. Dr. Sally also speaks with her daughter at least once a week by phone.
Many lack the resources to engage such a service. In those instances it takes an effort by the entire circle of family, friends and service staff to beat back the loneliness. Cards, letters, phone calls and flower deliveries (if allowed) are all vital to keeping these dear people connected.
One of my clients was lifted up by recorded hymns from friends at her church. I was fortunate to be able to enter her care home just long enough to load the recordings on her Kindle and watch her spirits rise as she listened for the first time.
Carol and I fretted for months regarding her parents. They are in an assisted living facility at the other end of the state. Virtual happy hours via FaceTime and phone calls were good but we really needed to be socially distant from them. Their facility has offered their patio for family meetings. Great, how do we get there safely?
We rented a 19' Motorhome and made the drive, giving ourselves the luxury of driving the coastal route and enough time to keep things relaxed. We and the dogs jumped into our rolling bubble and headed out for Highway 1, spending the first night along a river in Big Sur.
We eventually arrived down South and had a very lovely set of visits with John and Ernestine over the course of several days. The pups were perfectly behaved and a big hit. It was very satisfying.
It has been interesting to observe how clever many people have been tackling the challenges of the pandemic. And how generous many have been in offering aid and support to those most affected. We were touched when one of our local restaurants shut down for a day to prepare and deliver food to food insecure families right here in Cloverdale. El Milagro rocks!
Back to our elderly and disabled population. As in other areas we can be creative, reach out to others to find out how they've brought their presence, their concern and love to those staying safe behind closed doors. We can be together while apart. Good for them, good for you.
Don the Trustee
When my mother passed very suddenly some 16 years ago, I worked as a trustee for the first time. Her trust contained walnut orchards, peach orchards and a small vineyard. One of the properties was within the sphere of influence of the adjacent city and I dove in with the neighbors and started working on annexation. Loved this work back then and still find it very satisfying today.