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Senior Living Centers Open For Short Family Visitations

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Jerry Kenney
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Some nursing homes and senior living centers in Ohio have begun allowing visitors since going lock down in early March. WYSO’s Jerry Kenney has now been able to see his mom twice since visitations began at her senior living center in June. Here’s his reflection on his most recent visit.

In the parking lot of the nursing center where my mom lives, a large, white tent has been set up. This is the check-in point for people who have reserved time to see their loved ones.

For now, families are allowed to visit once a week for 45 minutes.

After a quick health risk assessment performed by a staff member, I make my way to a large fenced off patio. My mom is there waiting, and so is my sister, who checked in just before me.  We take seats that are spaced for social distancing and talk through our masks.

No one at the center has been infected during the pandemic but Mom says people there have been sad, even angry that they haven’t been able to see their kids and grandkids.

“And that's a terrible feeling because you haven't seen them in so long,” Mom says. But, she said spirits were raised when visitations began earlier this month.

We’re happy enough to be together for a short time but all too soon, we get a five minute warning and then it’s time to leave.

Getting up from our chairs, I notice the elderly woman at the table closest to us step around to give her visitors a hug. They say, "No Mom, we’re not allowed."

The woman looks crestfallen as we’re ushered out to the parking lot. Next week feels a long way off.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.