‘Huge excitement’ in nursing homes across country as visits resume
Nursing homes across the country are “hugely excited” as many residents welcome visitors for the first time since before Christmas.
Since yesterday, residents can welcome two visitors per week inside.
The new rules apply to nursing homes where 80% of residents and staff are fully vaccinated.
At The Pat Kenny Show this morning Newstalk Journalist Barry Whyte met with residents and staff at Bethany House Nursing Home in County Westmeath.
Martina O’Dowd told Barry she was visiting her 94-year-old aunt Beryl Gaye for the first time since Christmas.
“She’s like a second mother to me,” she says. “Today is such an emotional day.
“I haven’t seen her since before Christmas. Beryl would have always been with us for Christmas. It was his first Christmas without my husband and I and our grown children who absolutely adore him.
“I really feel very moved to walk through these doors today. It’s surreal; it’s almost like, “is this really happening?”
“For me today watching Beryl sitting in the chair with the smile on her happy face, it was fantastic.”
Beryl said she was ‘delighted’ that her niece could come in to see her.
“I almost fell ill with amazement when they told me she was coming,” she said. “They said, ‘Mar is coming,’ but I thought they meant the window.
“They said, ‘No, she’s coming here.’ Of course, I almost fell on the chair adult chat.
A little conversation
Meanwhile, Moss Fagan, 96, said he can’t wait to see his daughters in person.
“My daughter Sinéad was there, well she came to the window, and my other daughter also came from Galway to the window,” he said.
“It’s a miserable way, isn’t it?”
“It will be great to get rid of it now. Even to have two hours or an hour or whatever. Even to have that.
“The fact that they can come and sit there like you or me now and have a chat; it’s a whole different story and it’s great to get some attention now, isn’t it?
William McCormack said he was visiting his mother Olive McCormack, who celebrated her 100th birthday two weeks ago.
“It’s a great achievement,” he said. “My mom has only had work and problems her whole life, so turning 100 is great.
“As you know this virus is endless and you just didn’t know where you were going from week to week.
“As the numbers started to rise again, I wondered if the tour would be canceled. The last time the tours were canceled, it was just overnight. It was the Monday before Christmas and the tours were canceled, that’s all.
“So time is very precious and I am booked again for Saturday afternoon.”
You can listen to Barry’s full report here:
Main image from left to right: Josephine Doyle, Moss Fagan with Leo the dog, Beryl Gaye and Olive McCormack