ILION, N.Y. -- Debbie Barbano used to visit her mother in a local nursing home every morning before work. Then, on March 19, she got a call from the home: no more visits, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Eventually, restrictions would loosen, but seeing her mother through a window once a week was not the same.
"I would do her hair every morning. You know, curl it, make her look beautiful, she loves her jewelry. And when I used to do the window visits once a week, it wasn't looking like her," said Barbano.
The isolation was devastating to mother and daughter. Leaving her mother in the nursing home grew harder and harder. Adding to her sorrow and concern- her mother contracted COVID-19 in August. Fortunately, she recovered.
"When I did the visits with her she wanted to come back with me and I had to tell her she couldn't, you know what I mean, and I'd leave crying every time," said Barbano. As the holidays, and, her mother's two-year anniversary in the nursing home, approached, Barbano knew she had once choice. "It was a long eight months and with the holidays coming, I couldn't leave her there. My heart told me that I had to bring her home."
After a series of seemingly endless phone calls, emails and internet searches, Barbano had arranged for adequate care, and was ready to bring her mother home. Her children and grandchildren waited outside the nursing home on Friday, holding welcome signs.
Barbano created a Facebook page for her mother and other families dealing with nursing home isolation. It's called, "Their life - Our voice." She welcomes people to message her for guidance, finding programs that could enable them to arrange for the proper care to bring their loved homes home from nursing homes.