Family: Loved one's isolation in nursing home is doing its own damage

The move to ban visitors from nursing homes and long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 crisis was meant to protect the vulnerable population, but one family believes the isolation is doing its own damage.

News 12 Staff

May 6, 2020, 6:07 PM

Updated 1,479 days ago

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The Kurzrock family says the isolation on both sides is incredibly difficult.
Warren Kurzrock and his wife Sandra were inseparable for 64 years. But dementia set in two years ago and caused SandraKurzrock to officially move into a nursing home in January.
“Initially, I was visiting twice a week - mostly holding hands and smiling a lot,” says Kurzrock.
The weekly in-person visits with her husband of over six decades are now weekly calls or FaceTime.
"She remembers me, but I'm not sure she remembers me the way we used to be. And that's what worries me," says Kurzrock. "And certainly that's why I'm trying to get closer to her quicker."
Kurzrock's daughter, Sue Robboy, says the residents are very isolated and there's no group dining. She says her mother doesn't have nearly the amount of social activity as they hoped she would have.
The family is afraid every minute alone is accelerating Alzheimer’s and causing her memories to fade.
“When we see her on FaceTime, it’s hard to get her to smile, to talk,” says Robboy.
Luckily for Kurzrock, management allows him to visit as long as glass doors serve as a barrier.
“We couldn't talk, but at least I could see her at least, more than 6 feet away that was it,” he recalls.
At 91-years-old, Kurzrock works nearly seven days a week, but that’s still not enough of a distraction to keep him away from his wife.
With Mother’s Day and his wife's 89th birthday approaching, Kurzrock says it may be hard, but he has no plans on giving up.
The Department of Health issued a statement regarding measures taken to consider reopening nursing homes to visitors, saying in part, “…We have issued guidance requiring facilities to provide other methods to meet the social and emotional needs of residents, such as video calls, assigning staff to serve as the primary contact to families for inbound calls and conducting regular outbound calls to keep families up to date.”
News 12 also reached out for comment to Willow Gardens but has yet to receive a response.
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