In these, the days of coronavirus, we’re constantly being reminded of what we can’t do—things that used to be simple, like taking the bus, going downtown, or buying a single goddamn roll of toilet paper.
It’s harder to comfort your friends when social distancing is in full swing, and for people with older relatives in care homes, it’s nearly impossible. Older adults and people with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible to coronavirus, and many facilities have shut down visiting hours altogether since last week.
People can still be there for their loved ones. We just have to be kind of creative about it.
This post, shared by Sandy Hamilton of Coon Rapids on Facebook, shows a son who's found an interesting way to connect with his father while his assisted living home is enforcing a quarantine. Every day, the son pulls a desk chair up to his father’s window, calls him on the phone, and they have a little chat through the glass.
The sweetness of the moment has been catching. The post has more than 760,000 shares as of Tuesday morning, and the comments were flooded with people inspired to do something similar.
“Brilliant!” said one.
“I’m not crying,” lied another.
Hamilton didn’t respond to interview requests, but KARE 11 identified the nursing home as Whispering Pines Assisted Living in Anoka. The father and son are Bernard and Charlie Johnson. Bernard, an 88-year-old retired machinist, has been living there for about six months. Charlie has visited him every day, and isn't letting the new policy stop his streak.
Charlie told KARE-11 he totally supports Whispering Pines’ decision to close off access. His father’s got a variety of health conditions and is on oxygen, making him more vulnerable to the virus. He said neither of them expected their little workaround to blow up online, but in retrospect, he gets it.
“People probably need it right now,” he said.