Mary Daniel hadn’t seen her husband for 114 days due to coronavirus restrictions at the senior care facility where he lives. So when she was told she could see him if she worked there as a dishwasher, she seized the opportunity.

Her husband, Steve, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s seven years ago and moved into a care facility in Jacksonville, Florida, last July, Daniel told CBS News on Friday. “I put him in a memory care center and everything was going really, really well. He was thriving with all the people,” she said. “And in March, obviously everything changed.”

She said she had been visiting her husband every night and would get him ready for bed. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, hospitals and other health facilities restricted visitors as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to vulnerable patients. The facility closed to visitors on March 11 — the last time she saw Steve as a visitor. 

Not knowing how long the lock-down would last, she wanted to find a way to see her husband regularly, and decided to get creative. “Originally, I sent an email to the executive director saying, ‘OK, what do I need to do to get in there? Can I volunteer… can I bring a therapy dog? Can I get a job?’” Daniel told CBS News.

The facility didn’t know how long the restriction would last either, and didn’t take Daniel up on her offers at first. By the 16-week mark, she was becoming restless. She decided to take more action and began writing to local and state officials, urging them to end the isolation of patients in senior care facilities.

“We have separated these folks to save them, but we have separated them and it’s going to kill them. The isolation will absolutely kill them,” Daniel said. “Especially dementia patients, they need interaction. They need to be touched, their brain needs to…

This article was sourced from CBS.

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