Personal visits resume at Millard senior home

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 3:43 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - When the Coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020, life changed for nearly everyone.

Early on, nursing homes were hit hard. Residents and staff were getting sick, so in an effort to keep people inside and outside the facilities safe, nearly all closed their doors to visitors, including Good Samaritan Society in Millard.

That’s where Kay Woods has lived for the past 2 years. Friday, she was able to sit with her husband, Mike, hold his hand, and share a kiss. They’re both fully vaccinated, and now, take advantage of every meeting that they can.

Pre-pandemic, Mike would visit her in her room every day, but things quickly changed for the couple once COVID started to spread. In-person visits had become a thing of the past.

“We were talking to each other through the window, and on the phone through the window, but that was better than nothing,” said Mike Woods.

Being apart was challenging for Kay, so the visits from her husband meant everything.

“They were just a comfort and something to look forward to that I knew he was going to be coming,” said Kay. “It’s made it possible for me to make it through this difficult time.”

As the months went on, Mike made sure to let Kay know that she wasn’t alone; so even if he couldn’t see her, he’d drop off little treats.

“If I can get in I come in, if not I leave a latte by the door,” he said.

Mike worried for his wife’s health — it’s only natural — but he and Kay both felt confident that Good Samaritan Society was taking the right safety precautions. Mike says he understands why he wasn’t able to see his wife in-person for nearly a year, but still, it was hard to cope with.

“This has been so hard,” said Aimee Middleton, the director of operations. “It’s been hard for the residents, it’s been hard for the family members, and it’s been hard for the staff. We know they really want want that connection and love.”

Middleton says as more vaccinations were administered, Good Samaritan Society felt comfortable lifting some of the restrictions that had been in place since the pandemic started. Visitors still have to wear masks in and out of the building, but now visitors can meet with their loved one in a private area, and if both parties are vaccinated they can take their masks off and have closer contact.

“We have about one more step to go that is total freedom and people come in and out as the please so we’re excited to see that but this feels really good,” said Middleton.

Mike Woods says he was relieved and happy to see his wife in-person again.

“For a while we didn’t know if we’d ever get to see each other like we are now,” he said.

Now the couple looks forward to more frequent, and longer visits together.

“I’m looking forward to going down to the dining room with her because I was doing that all the time before this hit,” Mike said.

“I’m looking forward to the fact that he can come and go, and come to my room without any danger to anybody,” Kay said.

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