57ºF

As Florida begins to reopen, family hopes seniors stuck inside won’t be forgotten

John Moceyunas was overjoyed to see his mother -- even through a closed window

With so many people nervously anticipating phase one of Florida’s reopening Monday, the focus has been on restaurants, retail and the beaches.

But there’s an entire segment of the community still not able to leave their homes amid coronavirus concerns.

Sheila and Al Moceyunas, who will be celebrating 61 years of marriage on June 1, were inseparable, eventually moving to their dream home on St. Simons Island 25 years ago, the family told News4Jax.

“The two weeks of my birthday, we would go up there and we would spend time with family. And I remember her just loving the experience of all of us being there with her,” said her grandson Marino Moceyunas.

You can imagine how hard it was for the family to move Sheila to an assisted living facility in January after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Her short term memory is not good, so every visit is a regift if you will,” said her son John Moceyunas.

Marino added: “She adapted to it, and she saw our visits there as comforting.”

Sheila’s son and grandson were able to visit her regularly until all visitation suddenly stopped amid the coronavirus pandemic. During that time, Sheila fell, breaking her hip, and needed surgery.

“I fought the anxiety desperately -- anxiety to know it’s completely out of your hands. I can’t even go to visit her,” John said. “The place you want to be when your mother is in that condition is right next to her in the bed, holding her hand.”

Once his mother was back at her facility, John rushed to her -- overjoyed to finally see his mom -- even through a closed window.

“At least we could be there, be in front of her, even though there’s a piece of glass between us. I talked with her, and yes, I felt a lot better -- 100% better,” said John, who hopes people will not forget that there are seniors still stuck inside.

John and his son said they were so relieved to see how well the staff has taken care of their mother and grandmother, and they hope they’ll be able to see her again soon, even if it is from the outside looking in.


About the Author: