Helen Espinoza of Yuma, Arizona passed away at the age of 86 on Sunday, November 22, 2020 due to complications from COVID-19. Helen had dementia for many years and was in a memory care unit within an assisted living facility. However, her dementia declined significantly due to eight months of isolation, a direct consequence of COVID-19 visitor restrictions.
Helen's daughter was designated as her essential caregiver at the end of October and was allowed to see her in person for limited visits. Her daughter immediately noticed the decline in Helen's memory and communication. A few weeks later, there was an outbreak in her memory care unit, and she contracted COVID-19 along with many others. She died a week later after being diagnosed. Helen's daughter was with her until the end and witnessed a terrible death that no son or daughter should have to witness.
Her friends and family remember Helen for her beautiful smile and kind soul. Helen loved music to dance, especially to the music of Mexico. Helen always looked her best, often wearing large colorful earrings and bright colors, purple and red, as her favorites, with her hair and makeup always perfect.
Donations in the "Share the Love" Helen Espinoza Memorial Fund will support people with Alzheimer's and dementia by providing them with a Joy for All companion pet. Joy for All companion pets allow socially isolated older adults to receive similar gratification and comfort from live pets by calming anxiety, decreasing loneliness, and providing a better quality of life, even more so due to COVID-19 isolations in nursing and assisted living facilities.
This fund will partner with the Western Arizona Council of Governments (WACOG) to distribute these pets.