Separated Due to COVID-19, Family Facing FTD Celebrates Socially Distanced 80th Birthday



Although unable to physically be with her family on her 80th birthday, Sandra Beltz, who has FTD and lives in a continuing care facility, was recently able to celebrate from a distance.

Due to safety measures meant to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Beltz has been unable to see her family in-person for nearly five months – a challenge faced by families with loved ones in care facilities across the country. Beltz’s daughter has seen a decline in her mother’s condition during this time, which she attributes to increased isolation and loneliness: “It’s been very difficult,” she told the Morning Call. “She’s deteriorating, and we hear her deteriorating and her sadness.”

To help lift her spirits, a small group of family members and friends gathered outside the window of Beltz’s care facility, located in Allentown, PA, to celebrate her recent birthday. Adorned with party hats and birthday signage, they visited with Beltz from afar with the help of a cell phone. The family, who worked with facility staff to orchestrate the visit, hope to have similar visits in the future.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for those living with FTD in care facilities, as well as for their families and facility staff. The Summer 2020 issue of AFTD’s Partners in FTD Care newsletter addresses some of those challenges and offers strategies for maximizing care in the face of this new reality.