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'Don't they know we need hugs to live?': Families cry out for nursing home visits amid COVID-19 pandemic

For the past 113 days, Grace Page has been barred from seeing her mom with dementia because she lives in a nursing home.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Grace Page can't talk about it without tears. 

She and her mom have been close for decades. But now, she stands outside her mother's nursing care facility and tallies the days they've been separated.

As of July 2, they've been apart for 113 days.

Page says the "inconsistencies" seem unfair. She knows the governor has banned visitors from nursing care facilities to protect fragile seniors.

She says, though, "I see people going in and out all the time, carrying fast food... So, obviously, they've been around town and are still deemed safe enough to be inside with the seniors," she says.

Page, whose mom has dementia, believes one designated family member could go in for visits and follow safety rules.

Page says her mom knows her still, but during the isolation, she's lost "knowledge of her grandchildren." She is also noticing through the glass door that her mom falls asleep more often. Page says she was doing much better with family contact before the pandemic.

Credit: Grace Page

Her mom, who was a pastor's wife, told her, "Don't they know we need hugs to live?" Page calls her mother, "Mama," and says they used to have lunches together and share devotionals.

Multiple attempts to reach the governor's office, Page says, have turned out to be a bust. 

"I'm grateful I get to see her through the window. But it's not the same. It's not the same," Page says. 

Credit: Grace Page

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