Nursing Homes Forced To Keep Mothers And Children Apart Amidst COVID-19

Nursing homes have been forced to maintain emotionally difficult social distancing policies for the health of their residents this Mother's Day amidst the coronavirus pandemic.


Untold numbers of elderly Minnesota mothers are spending this Mother’s Day apart from their children.

Coronavirus is known to have a disproportionately lethal effect on the elderly. The overwhelming majority of deaths from the virus in Minnesota are related to long term care facilities or underlying conditions. One third of all COVID-19 related deaths in the US have occured in nursing homes, per the New York Times. For this reason, nursing homes have maintained restrictions on visitation even during Mother’s Day.

This has caused a wave of sadness on what would normally be a day of family celebration. One source who works inside a nursing home told an Alpha News reporter that tears abound this Mother’s Day as elderly moms are unable to see their children.

Another Minnesotan, Laura Hammond, told Alpha News that she’s frustrated that her mother’s nursing home imposes a confusing set of social distancing rules.

“I spoke with my mom recently who is in a nursing home in St. Paul MN, and she told me that she is not able to have visitors on Mother’s Day,” Hammond says. She also notes that her mother is allowed to go for walks outside, but not if that walk involves a long distance greeting from family.

“I am not able to visit her outside… even if I am 20 feet away,” Hammond says. “If you’re able to go for a walk outside with a staff member, why aren’t I able to see you if you come outside, while maintaining a physical distance?” she asks.

Hammond also says that when her mother spoke with nursing home staff about her sadness resulting from a lack of familial contact she was prescribed an anti-depressant.

Another child of a nursing home resident who prefers to remain anonymous says her mother has been barred from leaving her room, even to visit the facility’s cafeteria or walk the hallways.

Despite these strict restrictions on the elderly amidst the pandemic, many families have found ways to keep in contact.

A man from Anoka, Minnesota, visits his father through the window of a nursing home.

Visits through windows and via video chat services like Zoom or Skype have become the default way for the elderly to correspond with their loved ones.