Senior residents ‘feel so much better’ with eased visitor restrictions


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The pandemic has disrupted life worldwide, creating distance between ourselves and even our families.

Those with loved ones in nursing homes or assisted living have only recently had more freedom in their visits.

It is not easy telling someone they can’t see their family, but that is exactly what people working in senior living facilities had to do. And after a long year of saying no, they are finally able to allow some visitors.

“It did make my job a lot easier when the restrictions lightened up a little bit,” said Syndi Richmond, the life enrichment manager at Cascade Trails Senior Living.

From March 2020 until March 2021, COVID-19 rules were in place with little wiggle room.

“It just makes it feel so much better for the residents,” she said. “Compared to, ‘I’m sorry, you can only sit here and talk to each other through a window.'”

With the vaccines out there, many assisted living and nursing centers are allowing visits.

At Cascade Trails in Grand Rapids, the rule is two visitors, limited to a few times a week and they need to take a rapid test.

“So far, so good,” Richmond said. “It’s been going very well for us. Our families are just happy to come in and get whatever time they can with their loved ones.”

With COVID-19 cases recently on the rise in Michigan, the thought of going backward lingers overhead. But those conversations have not been needed yet.

“You just never know what’s going to happen in the future,” she said. “So, we want to give them as much time as possible.”

Despite any sort of aggravation, people have largely understood that this is all being done to protect the lives of the people they love.

“In the same notion, you want to see your family member,” Richmond said. “And it is hard. It’s a hard battle to fight.”

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