Not home for the holidays: A lonely Thanksgiving for assisted living and nursing home residents

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NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — This Thanksgiving may be a very lonely time for residents living in assisted living facilities and nursing homes and their families. Katy Lucey and Jennifer Miller spoke with NEWS10 ABC’s Anya Tucker about how they wish they could spend the holiday with their mother Betty Lucey.

They say that Betty’s life has always centered around family. Born a twin, she was close to her sister and when Betty had her own children, the holidays were a major deal.

“Holidays in our family is a major deal. It’s always been a major deal,” said Katy.

When Betty began to show signs of Alzheimer’s, she moved to Ingersoll Place, an assisted living and memory care facility in Niskayuna.

Her daughters say the staff is wonderful and they loved visiting and being able to take their mother on short outings.

“She just didn’t want to miss a thing. And we would take her everywhere and even with the Alzheimer’s she was a bit slower pace, but she still wanted to participate in everything she could,” said Katy.

But then COVID-19 came to town. Visits had to be through a window.

And even when restrictions relaxed, Katy and Jennifer knew that if they signed their mom out for the day she would likely have to be quarantined when she returned.

A major challenge for someone with memory loss.

Jennifer expressed her sadness with not being able to have her mother over for Thanksgiving saying, “Every day that we lose is a day that we are not going to get back.”

“I can’t imagine having dinner with everyone and her not being there. I just don’t know how we are going to get past that day without her, knowing that she is just a few miles down the road,” said her sister.”

Betty’s daughters say they know not much can be done right now.

They are just concerned that people may be forgetting that there are many elderly people who are feeling isolated and alone and they hope that when the curve flattens again the barriers to seeing their mother will be lifted.

“The individuals in these facilities, time is not on their side and that’s just the reality. And they need to be with their families.”

Ceil Mack, the Director of Marketing at Ingersoll Place, offered this statement:

“These residents that live with us become a part of our extended families too and we do all we can to bring them joy and to lift their spirits. Since the onset of coronavirus, we have introduced so many different kinds of visits that we have never done before, window visits, patio visits- everything to keep the families and residents connected. We cannot wait for the day to bring them all back together.”

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