With nursing homes closing across the country to protect our most vulnerable citizens it can be heartbreaking for those family members who can’t see their loved ones.
We all know it’s for the best as older, sick people are most at risk from this potentially deadly disease but it goes against our instinct to want to be close to those we love during troubled times.
When 93-year-old Jack Eccles went to visit his wife Gerry at her nursing home in March he was turned away as the center had gone into lockdown.
Instead of going home and accepting his predicament he showed up the next day at the home in Durham, North Carolina, with some of his belongings asking to rent a room.
“We’re married,” he told the The Wall Street Journal. “I want to be with her. She took care of me for 70 years, and now it’s my turn.”
Staff were accommodating and understanding of Jack’s predicament but to keep the other residents safe he could only be in his own room, his wife’s or the lobby occasionally.
He admits it can be lonely and he doesn’t get out much but looking after his wife, who has Alzheimer’s disease, is more important.
Jack was concerned his wife might stop eating and he wouldn’t be able to help her. Now he feeds her every meal and the staff have noticed a change in Gerry.
“That’s something we can’t do,” one of the home’s dieticians Olivia Jacobs said. “We haven’t been with her for 70 years.
“He’s always having a good day, he’s always happy to see her. … He’s with his love, and that’s where he wants to be.”
In July the couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary and were able to do so together, even if some of their 9 children and 20 grandkids and 24 great-grandkids had to stand outside their window to send their love.
What a beautiful relationship these two have. Please share if you too loved seeing Jack and Gerry together.
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