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Woman deals with restrictive visits with mom at Port Charlotte senior home

A woman in Charlotte County says her mother at a senior home thinks that she’s being punished for something because she’s not allowed to come out. Scared and unsure of what’s happening, this is now how our loved ones in nursing homes connect with family members, a wave through the window.

We spoke with one woman who can’t go inside her mother’s senior home in Port Charlotte because of enforced orders due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Standing in front of a window is as close as Tammy Baker can get to her mother right now. She hasn’t been able to hug her for three weeks.

“She doesn’t understand why I can’t take her for a ride,” Baker said. “She doesn’t understand why I can’t come in and have dinner with her, so we talk through the window.”

President Donald Trump restricted visits to nursing homes and assisted living facilities March 14 as part of the effort to stop the spread of coronovirus as well as protect those who are most vulnerable to it.

Almost every day, Baker shares messages of reassurance with her mom.

“I just try to explain to her that everybody’s sick,” Baker said. “Everybody out here is sick and that she is safe there, and she’s not going to get any kind of virus as long as she’s there.”

It’s a conversation that many people have had with their loved ones, since they can’t go inside nursing homes due to COVID-19.

The elderly are the most vulnerable age group to the virus, and Baker’s mom has Alzheimer’s disease.

“Sometimes I think it’s harder for her to see me because if I’m out of sight; I’m out of mind,” Baker said. “And then when she sees me, she doesn’t understand why she can’t leave with me.”

Fortunately, employees here at Village Place in Port Charlotte are helping Baker and her mother through this difficult time.

“They’re just having a great time doing arts and crafts,” said Melody Giuliano, the executive director of Village Place. “We’re using FaceTime, so that they can stay in contact with family members. And we send pictures, and we take phone calls.”

Baker told us she’s counting down the days until she gets to hug her mom again.

“I think it’s gonna be an onslaught of people just rushing through the door,” Baker said. “And I think everybody’s gonna be out and about. And, again, that will be another overwhelming stimulation for her.”

Reporter:Brea Hollingsworth
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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