BATAVIA — Several people gathered in front of City Hall over the weekend as they argued that after six months, it’s time for nursing homes and long-term care facilities to allow them to physically visit with their loved ones.
Some held signs saying “Our elderly NEED OUR HUGS” and “I AM MY FATHER’S VOICE” as vehicles passed them on Main Street Saturday, some honking their horns in support.
Beverly Noody, who said her mother, Barbara Wight, is a skilled nursing facility resident, said since March, neither she nor her family has been able to go into the facility to visit Wight. Noody carried a sign calling out Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the issue.
“It was supposed to be temporary while COVID was going on so we could keep them safe. That’s understandable. However, it’s been six months and there’s no end in sight,” Noody said. “The rules that have been put forth giving us a date when we can start having outdoor visits are unreachable. They want to have zero positive tests (for COVID-19).”
The Oakfield resident said residents in these facilities don’t have a lot of time left.
“They are statistically closer to the end of their lives than we are. My mother just turned 94. She’s lonely. She’s unhappy. I have a letter that I found in her belongings when they moved her from assisted living to skilled nursing,” she said. “It was written to me and it broke my heart. She wants out. She wants to come home. That’s what we’re working for — not necessarily to get them out of there, but to get them some visitors.”
The residents need family interaction, Noody said.
“I’m not doubting the care she’s getting, but family members go in there and they check on things. They check on their mental health. They can tell by talking to them for a little while if there’s something going on. I always used to check my mother’s ankles and feet because they would swell. The first thing I did when I went to visit her was look at them.”
“No matter how good the care is, things are going to get missed. These people (nursing home employees) are working long, hard jobs and have long hours. It’s just nice to have another person in there — a family member — that can help them and they’re not getting that,” Noody said. “They (nursing homes) need to have a plan. They need to let us in.”