Seniors Could Face Isolation During Ohio's Nursing Home Visitor Ban

Nursing homes are advising virtual visits to connect with loved ones during Ohio's visitor ban.
Nursing homes are advising virtual visits to connect with loved ones during Ohio's visitor ban. [Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock]
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Governor Mike DeWine has restricted all nursing home visits in the state to prevent the spread of coronavirus to seniors, who are a high-risk group.

But social isolation isn’t good for older adults either. Research from the National Institute on Aging shows that social isolation can cause higher rates of high blood pressure, dementia and depression in seniors. And a recent study from the National Academies of Science found that a quarter of Americans aged 65 and older are considered socially isolated.

"Can he be brought to the front door and I can wave at him? I'll do that," said Luanne Bole-Becker, a Cleveland resident whose husband is currently in a nursing home. "I'll come to his window and wave. He might wonder what the heck is going on, but at least he'll remember me." 

Bole-Becker's 66-year-old husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2012, and he was recently moved to a memory care facility in Cuyahoga Falls.

Nursing homes are advising virtual visits to connect with loved ones during the visitor ban, like through FaceTime and Skype.  But that doesn't work for Bole-Becker.

“My husband, because of the Alzheimer’s, is not really able to focus, like when we try to show him pictures on a screen, that doesn’t really click. So the idea that I couldn’t see him was just a shock," she said.

Bob Becker

Luanne Bole-Becker will not be able to see her 66-year-old husband Bob (pictured) under Ohio's visitor ban, but she said she is happy measures are being taken for residents' safety. [Luanne Bole-Becker]

But she said she’s not too worried about her husband because staff at his facility are hosting social activities for the residents every day.

She said she hopes these visitor restrictions are short-lived but she’s glad they’ve implemented them in the name of public health.

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