Local family stays virtually connected with mom in nursing home

Local

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Wesley Community Nursing Home in Saratoga Springs has set up technology to allow virtual visits between residents and their loved ones during this time of suspended visitation.

Amy Shimkus is a resident at the Wesley. She typically would have her family and friends stop by and visit her in person. However, due to the coronavirus, her family now has to communicate virtually.  

“You’re talking now about almost three months since we have been able to hug her and say hi in person, so it’s been little challenging,” said Amy’s son and President of the Saratoga Springs Chamber of Commerce Todd Shimkus.

During the pandemic, it has not been easy on the Shimkus family. Amy was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s eight years ago, and now, they say not being able to visit her has taken a toll.  

“The worst part is, by the time we can finally see her again, will she remember us? Like right now she knows who we all are and nothing makes sense to her. However, a part of me is also grateful she doesn’t understand what is going on in the world,” said Amy’s daughter, Tracy Chiefetz.

Many members of the Shimkus family video chat their mother and grandmother through Skype to keep her up-to-date.

“She is very clear on who we all are on the video chat. So even though it might be overwhelming for her that we are all on there, she seems to go with it,” explained Chiefetz.

“So, she will actually end the conversation with us most of the time. It is comforting for us to know she feels like she has something to do,” said Todd.

Todd says knowing that his mom is in good hands at the Wesley has put his mind at ease.

“The good news of this whole story is that we know she is being incredibly well cared for by the heroes at Wesley,” he said.

Amy is also a retired nurse. She spent many years working the overnight shift and caring for patients. Brian Nealon, CEO of the Wesley Community, says Amy brings an unique story to their home.

“It was very special for a nurse to move in as a resident. There is a level of spunk that Amy has with our staff and with our caregivers,” said Nealon.

Todd and Tracy are missing their mom right now, but they both know this will not last forever.

“I can’t wait to see you soon, Mom. I love you and I miss you. We all can’t wait to be able to hug you again,” said Chiefetz.

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