Daughter caring for elderly mother with COVID-19: ‘We have to stay up all night long watching her’

Updated: Apr. 1, 2020 at 1:25 AM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - An Albany woman and her husband are now raising a family under the same roof as her elderly mother who has COVID-19.

“Well, right now my mother is sleeping on my sofa. I do not have a wheelchair for her, I had to borrow one to actually get her in the house. I do not have a bed for her to sleep in. We have to change her and bathe her every day but she can not walk. So my son, Antonio Bell, has been really the one who’s lifting her while I change her diaper because she can not go to the bathroom by herself. So that’s the situation that we’re in right now,” explained Alice Wise Bell.

Alice is now retired from working at Sam’s Club and is now taking on the role of an at-home-nurse for her 75-year-old mother who has the coronavirus.

“My main concern right now is getting help for my mother. Her therapist is supposed to come out today to try (and) help her walk. My main thing is just trying to get my mother a bed just somewhere so she can sit comfortably and hopefully, that she can start walking again,” said Alice.

But not just any bed. Alice said her mother needs a hospital-style bed so she won’t roll off at night.

“We have to stay up all night long watching her so that she won’t fall off the sofa. Someone’s down there with her at nighttime.”

Alice lives in a three-bedroom, two-story apartment and all of the bedrooms are upstairs.

She lives there with five others which include her husband and children and another child her mother was raising.

“It’s hard trying to take care of her, especially, you know, it’s gonna be harder when my son leaves this week. So all I do is pray to Jehovah that he gets me through this and that’s my main thing, just praying and asking my spiritual family just to be there for me" explained Alice.

Alice said she’s waiting to hear back from doctors to see if her insurance will cover the type of bed her mother needs.

Alice is not alone in her struggles.

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s most recent numbers said over 500 positive patients are receiving treatment mostly at home or at another facility.

Dr. Charles Ruis with the Georgia Department of Public Health said most people infected with COVID-19 will not need hospitalization.

He said protective masks and gloves should be worn when in the same room as your ill loved one.

“The patient needs to wear a face mask when they’re in the presence of other people. If they’re off in a room by themselves all day it’s not as essential that they wear that mask, but if they’re gonna be coming out the room where they’re staying in a common area, they definitely need to be wearing a mask,” said Ruis.

Ruis said ideally, the patient would be in their room.

He also said that no visitors should be allowed that does not have a function in the home.

Dr. Ruis also recommends everyone in the household frequently wash their hands and clothes.

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