My mentally ill, homeless mother and COVID-19

My mentally ill, homeless mother and COVID-19

Turning the new year and coming on the two year anniversary of the COVID lockdown, I am thinking about my mother and her challenges over the past couple years.

When we went into lockdown, she was staying at a hotel. She thought that she was having money added to her bank account to enable her to continue to stay there. However when she tried to charge it, there were not enough funds in her account. She went to her ATM to confirm it. Because she wouldn’t accept a cell phone, I could only get her on the phone when she was at a hotel. So I paid for a few days for her to stay there while trying to get her to cooperate with alternative shelter to no avail. The last I spoke with her, she was insisting that she was going to stay at the hotel even though they were clear she had to leave. I didn’t hear from her again for six months.

This began one of the most worrisome periods with my mother. She, in her 80’s, had been sleeping rough for several years, so I was acclimated to the deep discomfort. Now she was out in the world, out of contact, during a pandemic particularly effecting elders.

The next time she called me, she was concerned that someone was taking money out of her back account. I got on the phone with her and her bank, enabling me to get online access to her account. I told her that she had spent the money, that no one else had taken money out. She did not believe me.

Since then I have been able to check her back account to see where she had been. I can see where she’s taken money out of her account by ATM. I can see where she spends money with her debit card. I know what city she’s in and what her habits are. I know she’s alive.