Nursing home residents, families face negative impacts from COVID-19

Updated: Aug. 9, 2020 at 8:47 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - A local woman speaks out on the negative impact COVID-19 restrictions are having on the elderly at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

She says she understands the coronavirus threat but says isolating the elderly is also hurting them.

Harahan resident Norma Veade says it’s been almost five months since she’s been allowed to hold her 88-year-old mother or to simply tell her she loves her.

It because of the cancellation of physical contact visits at Louisiana nursing care facilities.

Veade says she knows it’s aimed at protecting the elderly from COVID-19, but she says the longer it goes on—it’s taking a huge toll on the elderly and their loved ones.

“You can physically see how much weight she’s lost. They weighed her in July and she’s down to 94 pounds, " Veade said.

The Louisiana Nursing Home Association says the safest communication now is using technology apps like Facetime or Skype.

“It’s draining to not be able to just touch her and not take care of her, because you just need to. You need to,” Veade said.

But Norma says, for many elderly people, like her mom that won’t work. Her mother can barely hear of see. She also suffers from memory disease dementia. She says that’s why her mother can’t recognize her when she stands outside the window of the nursing care facility to see her during weekly visits.

“I hate to stand there and cry but that is what I end up doing because I don’t want her to know I’m sad. I don’t’ want her to feel that I’m sad all can do is wave and blow kisses and that is heart-wrenching,” Veade said.

The state health officer Jimmy Guidry says he understands how tough this is, but he says until the state’s coronavirus cases decline and the state moves to phase three, they can’t take the risks by resuming visits.

“We would hope now seeing stabilization and less infection in the next few weeks, but with school starting it’s unknown,” Guidry said.

It is that unknown that has Norma Veade concerned for residents like her mom at nursing care homes.

“They re at the end of their lives whether we want to admit that or not - I want to visit her while she’s alive not at her funeral,” Veade said.

Veade says while it won’t be easy, she will try to move her mom out of the facility if the restrictions continue.

But Guidry says it’s up to the nursing homes to determine when the residents can return once they leave.

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