Nursing homes across North Alabama aren't allowing family members to visit and one local certified nursing assistant says seniors can start feeling depressed without contact with their families.
People who work at nursing homes say they are encouraging people to take a moment out of their day to pick up the phone and video call a loved one or stop by and wave hello through the window.
"We've taken time going to do window visits and mama's in the 12th year of her journey with dementia," said daughter, Debby Jennings.
Jennings usually visits her mother in Barfield Health Care nursing home in Guntersville at least twice a week, but that's changed.
"I miss her so much. We miss her so much. Those daily visits just kept us going," said Jennings.
Jennings says the last time she saw her mother in person was back in March. She visited her through the window last Friday.
"She really didn't know who I was. I did get a wave from her," said Jennings.
She tells WAAY 31 she believes the lack of contact is making her mother's dementia worse.
"There was a nurse there coaching her, 'There's Debby. Wave to Debby.' Finally, I got a smile and a wave, and that was awesome," said Jennings.
Kyshell Frierson is a certified nursing assistant and works with seniors regularly. She says she's noticed how coronavirus is impacting her patients.
"Emotionally, it can be very depressing when you want to see family," she said.
Frierson says a quick video call can make a huge difference in a patient's mental health.
"They light up. They just light up when they get to speak with their loved ones and when they get to see them," said Frierson.
Jennings is visiting her mom through the window as much as she can and hopes she can be reunited with her soon.
"We are going to have chocolate and a Coca Cola just as soon as I can go in there. I just won't let her go. I'll hug her so tight," said Jennings.
Frierson also works at Huntsville Hospital. She tells WAAY 31 everyone is doing their best to create a positive environment for patients who for now, won't be able to see their family.