At Nursing Homes, Families Can See Loved Ones — Through Windows

Cleburne facility arranges meetings through the front window

NBCUniversal, Inc.

At nursing homes like Santa Fe Trails nursing home in Cleburne, a visit to see mom or gramma suddenly means no hugs, no kisses -- and talking through a window.

"This is as good as it gets,” Beverly Hogan said during a visit to see her 96-year-old mother Betty Williams on Thursday. “But we get to see her. And that's good."

Many nursing homes across the country have closed their doors to residents’ families to stop the spread of the coronavirus. An estimated 1.3 million Americans live in assisted living centers.

At Santa Fe Trails, executive director Cindi Abbott came up with the window visitation plan. Family members can come anytime and see their loved ones through a large front window.

"My families can see their loved ones and they can talk,” Abbott said. “It's the best we can do at this point, but at least they have that connection."

They talk over cell phones.

Also on Thursday, 73-year-old Linda Hart got a visit from her daughter and two grandchildren.

"It's just crazy to not be able to see her,” Hart’s granddaughter Sadye Simpson said. “Our normal lives, the normalcy is gone. There's no normal right now and it's crazy."

The families understand the need for the new restrictions, but still miss the personal connection.

"Being able to hug her, and you know, just be with her and her presence,” Simpson said. “It's pretty devastating for everybody. Not just us, the rest of our family. And I know her too, she doesn't understand."

The coronavirus has already taken so much.

Even a simple hug with gramma.

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