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Nursing home lockdown must be eased

Nursing home lockdown must be eased

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Eight months … 212 days … that is the amount of time that residents of nursing homes have endured a lockdown since the COVID-19 crisis began. I understand the concern that initiated the lockdown, but eight months of isolation from family is unconscionable and cruel. It is true that the elderly population may be more at risk, but at what point do the residents get to make the decision as to what is risk worthy?

Currently, they are alive, but certainly not living. Being primarily isolated to one’s room for eight months is not living. Never getting a hug from a grandchild, a pat of reassurance from a loved one for over 212 days begins to cross the line into cruelty. Babies who are not held, nuzzled and hugged enough can stop growing, and if the situation lasts long enough, even die. Yet we are denying nursing home residents of the very same thing.

I have a daughter who is an occupational therapist and she has seen a decline in the overall mental/physical health of the nursing home residents she sees as part of her job. Other friends who work with nursing home residents have voiced the same opinion. And it should be noted that the staff members observe the distress of the residents daily. How heartbreaking for staff, too. We have to depend on their evaluation of our loved ones because the rest of us are not given the opportunity to see them.

I seek your help in allowing nursing home residents the freedom to once again see their families/friends safely. Wearing masks and social distancing should allow us to visit in a safe manner. Please contact your local senator, the governor and Department of Health and Human Services to express your concern.

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