With a new coronavirus vaccine on the way to Alabama, people in nursing and assisted living facilities are hoping rules regarding in-person visitation become less strict, soon.
For Ray Amberson, holding his mother's hand is something he cherishes now more than ever. For the last year, their in-person interactions have been limited, and he says it hasn't been easy. He says the hardest thing for him is "knowing how much time she spends alone."
Amberson's mom, Sadie, has been living in the Branchwater Assisted Living Facility throughout the pandemic. The facility does allow for in-person visits, but the protocols that come along with those types of visits make it difficult for them to happen.
"They have a lot of protocol for us to go in-person. It's just easier to go to the window," Amberson said. "Her children and her great-grandchildren, she probably can't remember the last time they sat in her lap or hugged on her."
"No matter what we do, no matter how much we love on them and give them activities, we can't take the place of their children or their grandchildren, and I think they just tend to feel down," Lili De Leon, the executive director of the facility, said.
Amberson says having more vaccines gives him hope things will return back to normal soon and says as soon as he's able to get the vaccine, he will. He said he's most looking forward to one thing.
"Seeing her anytime, all the time, we want to without putting anyone through any special hardships...just come and go like it was," he said.
Right now, there hasn't been any indication on when or if any nursing or assisted living facilities will be able to resume in-person visitations with fewer restrictions. We reached out to the federal agency that sets those guidelines and are still waiting to hear back.