LANSING, Mich. — Nursing homes across this country still remain on lockdown in many states. As cases rise, seniors are being robbed of the opportunity to visit with family members. But Chris Conte shows us how some people are getting creative, when it comes to seeing their family.
Cutoff from the world, seniors in nursing homes across the country are suffering in solitude. They’re dying of broken hearts, they’re dying of abandonment. MJ Ryan's mother Theresa ended up at the friendly place nursing home last year. Alzheimers was slowly stealing this dedicated grandmother, football fan and casino lover away.
Theresa was doing okay, until COVID hit. Visitors were not allowed in and Theresa, was not allowed out. She wanted to get out of those walls and "said we couldn’t because there’s a virus and I explained it to her and she said ‘well what’s the difference this is a slow death’ and that’s honestly what it is."
This is happening to seniors all over the country, their mental and physical health declining rapidly because of the isolation brought on by COVID. MJ Ryan knew she had to do something so she got a new job, working the laundry room in her mom's nursing home.
"It’s amazing how much laundry goes down in a fairly small nursing homes once a week."
MJ would work an eight hour shift doing laundry. Her breaks would allow her to checkup on her mom. She didn’t have a lot of concept of time and space, I wanted her to know we weren’t gone, nursing homes across the country are facing severe staffing shortages.
So the help was more than welcome and it's not just MJ. Others across the country are taking jobs in nursing homes to see their parents. There’s so many things that go one in a nursing home that people could do that are necessary for the care of residents that make you feel good about doing it, make you feel good about helping the residents and allow you in to see your family member.
MJ Ryan is a Senior Director for a healthcare company she makes six figures. But the time she was able to spend with her mom making minimum wage, was priceless. When Theresa passed away last week from Alzheimers, MJ was there.
I stayed right through Friday morning to when we lost her Sunday morning. Now I live with the sadness of losing her which everyone does at some point but i don’t live with regret.
What more could any parent ask for. I'm Chris Conte. MJ is remaining on-call to help whenever the nursing home is short staffed, even though her mom is no longer there.
Instead of flowers at Theresa Ryan's funeral service, people were asked to donate to an emergency fund the family started for front line workers at the nursing home.
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