‘No Vistors’ takes toll on nursing home residents and families

Local News

For nearly four months, visitors have been unable to go inside of nursing homes.

Naturally, that can lead to family members having anxiety about the well-being of loved ones and it has taken an emotional toll. 

“Just being alone, lonely and sick. She’s scared.” Those are the effects Rita Montgomery says her mom is facing since being quarantined from her family and friends.

Depressed and confused, she’s not the mom Rita remembers. “She is a fighter, she is strong.”

Married at 14, Maxine Decker went on to have 13 kids and took over the family business making moonshine when her husband went to jail. “We were dirt poor people that lived in the hills.”

She endured the loss of her son in Vietnam,  and recovered from COVID 19 itself. But, now in a nursing home with nothing to do,  her daughter Rita worries being quarantined in the nursing home is something she won’t overcome. 

“They feed them. They give them a bed. They give them water.” Which she says, is enough to survive but not enough to fully live especially for a social butterfly like Maxine. 

“She was in every activity. If they offered knife throwing she would have done that because she is social and this has been hard for her.”

Recently the family experienced a glimpse of hope. For the first time in nearly 4 months Rita saw her mom in a special parade at the nursing home. 

Wheelchairs were lined up 6 feet apart watching family members drive by. Each resident was holding a sign of the things they want. Maxine just wanted a hair cut.

“They need more than just basics to survive until the Lord calls them. They need more.”

While Rita says she understands safety precautions but she feels activities and enrichment are just as important. 

While she was able to smile and wave at her mom she can’t wait for the day she gets to hug her mom again. Rita has shared her concerns with management,  the health department and the state’s ombudsman.

Right now they say there is little they can do. If you have concerns about your family in the nursing home you can contact the Ohio State Ombudsman’s office at (800) 282-1206

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